Galen Gibson-Cornell

Artist Statement

I create artworks in response to the silent communication networks that permeate urban areas and occupy the interstices of daily life in a city.

Thick layers of posters and flyers color the external appearance of many of the world’s urban areas. These posters are deployed with a purpose - to communicate events, politics, and ideologies to passers-by. However, their material is temporary and fragile; they are ripped, written on, covered up, and ignored. Each voice is muddled and lost in time to the buzz of the vibrating city. 

I linger on these fleeting communications during my exploration of a specific city. I study and then collect particular street posters, focusing especially on patterns of appearance, location, repetition, and deterioration. Back in my studio, I dissect, splice together various posters, and rearrange found materials into unique and curious artworks that question urban systems.

I pay particular attention to the invisible materials supporting these urban poster systems, chiefly Scotch tape. In addition to its function as an adhesive for posters, I am interested in its material capabilities- its thickness, opacity, and unique accumulative visual potential. I layer tape over the surface of posters or photographs in order to blur or alter their communication, and I also form gridded tape structures on black backgrounds that function as images themselves.

Grids in general can be a central apparatus for understanding cities. They reference street layouts, political lines or boundaries on city maps, utopian urban plans, grids of office or apartment windows rising into the sky, and certainly rows of posters taped or pasted onto urban walls in large broadsides.