Cultivating Creativity

At The James, we’re committed to celebrating the creative communities that surround us by featuring works from a range of local, national, and international artists. We’re particularly excited to shine the spotlight on the best that Chicago-area artists have to offer as part #artatthejames—and our latest installation by Illinois-based artist Joel Ross is a perfect example. In partnership with the Monique Meloche Gallery, we’re pleased to share selected works from his 2012 series Alleys and Parking Lots in the lobby of The James Chicago.

Dramatic Narratives

Alleys and Parking Lots marks a return to the public eye for Ross, an associate professor in the School of Art and Design at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who recently entered remission from lymphoma. In collaboration with local photographer Jason Creps, the series explores the way text interacts with the built environment.

The pair constructed signs—“Anything is Possible,” reads one—and then clandestinely installed, photographed, and abandoned them in vacant spots around Chicago and Southern Illinois. The locations were typically chosen for their ominous feel or dramatic lighting at dusk, dawn, or nighttime and their ability to contribute to the artists’ narratives. The resulting scenes evoke powerful emotions, from aggression to humor.

In addition to the installation in our lobby, you’ll see other works by Joel Ross throughout The James Chicago’s public spaces, including Room 28, a permanent sculpture also located in the lobby and Leaving Stories, which can be found in The Library on the second floor.

Enjoy these and other works by local artists by booking a room at The James Chicago. 

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