Growing up in the suburban land of big-box retail (which increasingly seems to infiltrate our cities too), I was no stranger to the wanton excess that lined the shelves of stores like Meijer, Target, Costco and Walmart. As the mediocrity of these spaces and the mind-numbing effects of consumerism come to define our American landscape, it seems important for artists to encourage active debate on the matter.
In the aftermath of 9/11, when our president brazenly equated shopping with patriotism, Brian Ulrich began his photographic project Copia. The ongoing series, as Ulrich notes in his statement, examines â€œthe economic, cultural, social and political implications of commercialism and the roles we play in self-destruction, over-consumption and as targets of marketing and advertising.â€ The project is defined by several evolving chapters: Retail, Thrift, Backrooms and a forthcoming examination into the world of luxury goods.
Brian passed on some recent images from the Retail series (clockwise from top left): Chicago, IL 2005 (Xmas); Chicago, IL 2006 (Bluetooth); Kenosha, WI 2006 (Jello); and New York, NY 2005 (Candy Store). His work is included in the exhibit "Worlds Away: New Suburban Landscapes," currently at the Walker Art Center, and later this year at the Carnegie Museum of Art.