MISSY WEIMER - Projects - Lake.Sky.Vans.

heaven gallery - 2005

Lake.Sky.Vans. installation room 1, 2005

Lake.Sky.Vans. installation room 2, 2005
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Lake.Sky.Vans. , 2005
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Sky, 2 up, 2005
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Asrtos, 4 up, 2005
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Crown Vics, 2005
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Junk Trucks, 2005
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Skyway Sky, 2005
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Winter composition, 2005
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Chicago's Vans, 2005
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Red and Blue Van, 2005
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Classics, 2005
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Street Vans, 2005
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City Seasons, 2005
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Vans, city and suburbs, 2005
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Skies 4 up, 2005
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Lake Effect, 2005
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Lake, from my Cutlass, 2005
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Grand Marquis, 2005
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Astros, Coming and Going, 2005
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     Lake.Sky.Vans. is about the American urban experience. I have investigated urban environments all over the United States, through documentary photography. I examine their overall uniformity and, the sometimes minor, dissemblance that define them. Starting in my hometown of Chicago, I delve further into this idea by investigating it’s local distinctiveness. Lake.Sky.Vans. includes upwards of 350 photos of the city of Chicago. I pursue these three elements (Lake, Sky, and Vans) as central to Chicago’s specific visual aesthetic, and examine their effects on the residents and their feelings of nostalgia and regional identity.
      By providing the audience with vivid, street level, illustrations of the Chicago landscape I show how, through these three factors, this city’s individuality is most profoundly realized. Also uncovered are the distinctly American elements, present in every major American city. Through the visual repetition of these themes the viewer is instilled with a mock sense of nostalgia for these elements, and hopefully an insight into the feelings of identity shared by city dwellers. Vans prove to be the most transcendental of the three elements. This is because identity is not a passive experience for the van owner. Vans on the streets of Chicago make statements about class, climate, family, consumption and economics. The word “Vans” used in this context is a metaphor for car culture and includes other vehicles specific to this Midwestern region and inherent in this culture, including, large sedans: Grand Marquis, Crown Victoria’s, Lincoln Towncars, junk trucks: modified scavengers pick-up trucks and also station wagons, generally circa 75-92.
      This project has been featured on NPR, WBEZ Chicago, 848 show with Steve Edwards. Well received by listeners and well liked by staff, it was replayed on the Hello Beautiful, Sunday Morning Art Show and again on 848. Following the airings of this interview I was contacted by listeners who wanted to tell me about a van. Most people spoke about their own van or their ‘old’ van, some spoke of their father’s, a friend’s, or a van they pass on the way to work. Some expressed feeling validated in their love of vans while others were brought to a new level in their conscious appreciation. Through this exposure I was contacted by Venus magazine, and was interviewed for their featured artist section on venuszine.com, their publications website. This culminated in a hugely successful solo show of this work at heaven gallery in Chicago, Illinois from January through February of 2005. I will continue exploring ideas with regards to nostalgia, regional identity and communal archetypes in future projects.