August 10 – September 11, 2016
Untitled (Tart) by James Jankowiak, 2016, Acrylic on wood, 24 x 24 in.
James Jankowiak's Project Statement:
Bombardment. That’s how it feels to navigate everyday life in 2016. Everywhere we go someone or something is trying to communicate with us. Whether it be billboard advertisements, traffic lights, social media, or nature itself, we are bombarded with thousands of cues to stop, look, listen, to obey, to defy, and to defend. We actively permit more bombardment into our lives through social media. Our portable handheld machines have become a bionic extension of not only our wrists but also our minds and voices.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t appropriate times for bombardment. How many people, how many messages does it take to affect positive social change? How many warnings go unheeded? How many positive affirmations go ignored? The human condition demands repetition and begs for second chances.
Closer Than You’d Think is a collection of paintings I started a couple of years ago that deal with memory, reaction, familiarity and conversation, both from an art historical perspective and a 21st-century American angle. I’m interested in the way color plays a role in universal communication, in how deeply entrenched we have come to rely on it to convey directions, warnings and emotion. Combining color combinations with simple forms that allude to real- life objects, I’m building a conceptual framework exploring how certain objects and color schemes can metaphorically represent our everyday life experiences, personally and in pop culture.
James Jankowiak was born and raised in Chicago’s south side Back of the Yards neighborhood. He honed and developed the knowledge and skills he gained from his early years as a graffiti artist, and now he applies them to his full-time endeavors as a professional artist, activist, and educator. Although mostly self-taught, Jankowiak studied for short periods of time at Columbia College Chicago, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC). He currently works as a teaching artist with the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA), Urban Gateways, and After School Matters through their visual arts program’s “Contemporary Painting Studio” at the Eric Solorio Academy High School.
Jankowiak’s Public Art commissions include the 2011 artwork design for the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s permanent entrance; and the 2016 Chicago Transit Authority’s (CTA) Downtown Public Art Project. This summer the CTA will unveil Jankowiak’s one-of-a-kind art on glass panels, which will be featured in the Union Station Transit Center underneath the canopied waiting areas for bus patrons. Jankowiak’s work has been exhibited widely throughout Chicago; venues include the MCA, SAIC’s Roger Brown Gallery, the Hyde Park Art Center, Johalla Projects, and the Chicago Cultural Center. In 2017, he will be engaged in a project facilitated by the Avondale neighborhood venue Corner Gallery.
Lecture: September 7, 2016
in Arrowhead Gallery, Sugar Grove Campus
All our lectures are free and open to the general public.
Workshop: September 7, 2016
in Von Ohlen Hall, room 200, Sugar Grove Campus
Our workshops are open to all current Waubonsee students (registration required).
For more information about the art exhibitions at Waubonsee Community College, contact Cecilia Vargas, Art Coordinator, at (630) 466-2964.