Two Hundred and Thirty Feet
April 2 to May 2, 2008
James Harris Gallery is pleased to present its second solo exhibition by Todd Simeone. The artist continues to engage in negation and disappearance as tools to investigate the limitations and predetermined structures of popular design, and language. Applying a wide array of photographic and digital strategies to the familiar, Simeone dissects visual codes while revealing underlying beauty and sentiment in what often goes unnoticed.
Two Hundred and Thirty Feet presents Simeone’s adaptation of a treasure hunt spanning nearly two hundred years; the mystery of Oak Island. This popular account begins in 1795, when a teenage boy discovers what is believed to be pirate treasure. Through an investigative dig, hundreds of clues and artifacts are discovered, but only enough to keep subsequent treasure hunters returning, digging deeper, finding more important artifacts and markers, and building a continuing mystery.
This account is retold through a single channel text-based animation. Simeone uses the pit and its attained and unattainable artifacts as both structure and allegory. The artist “digs deep” into the relationship between spoken and written words, language and experience, fact and fiction.
Accompanying the video are works on paper based on rock and punk iconography from the artist’s youth. Continuing his use of appropriation and editing, Simeone creates “posters” by remixing graphic band logos and pairing them with traditional photographic elements. The result uses Simeone’s deadpan aesthetic to create a wall of sound, transcending nostalgia and leaving a lingering atmosphere of beauty and familiarity.
Todd Simeone received his MFA from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2008, and a BFA from the University of Washington in Seattle. His work is included in major collections including the Progressive Corporation in Cleveland, Ohio and Microsoft in Redmond, WA. He currently lives and works in Chicago and teaches in the Photography Department at the School of the Art Institute.