RARE is pleased to announce the second solo show at our gallery of video & installation artist Jimmy Joe Roche, a seventh generation Floridian living and working in Baltimore. The exhibition, titled Under Pressure, which runs from January 6 through February 3, will feature four new videos, a hand-cut paper wall sculpture, and a mixed media floor sculpture.
Roche takes a polymathic approach to creating work by utilizing several different media to share his perceptions of American culture and the dreams, hopes, and fears of its cast of characters. He weaves within his work elements of his personal mythology, experimental ethnography, and Op art intensity. His multi-media installations inhabit an acidic, psychedelic space that, along with his video alter egos, communicate feelings of fractured identity as well as a stylist anarchy often found in the viral videos posted on YouTube.
The artist’s videos, an amalgam of media and pop culture iconography for which Roche is the conduit, depict various alienated characters who have been plucked from the American cultural landscape and who represent diverse fringe aspects of American society. They seem disoriented, possessed, and frenzied.
Roche’s fictional figures spring from very personal insights and experiences for which his videos serve as a contextual journal. This body of work mimics reality and reflects broader cultural truths by virtue of Roche’s deft exaggeration and dramatization of the traits of his protagonists. The artist describes his performed character studies as “fringe characters, people who are on the outside of American culture, looking in the big-box window – both totally American and foreign at the same time.”
The mandala-like paper sculptures crafted by Roche demonstrate a strong visual and psychic kinship to his videos, resembling vibrant, mutating organic forms that seem to portray a stripped down, fractured anatomy. He expresses his strong spiritual connection to America’s cultural landscape through these painstakingly hand-cut, obsessively painted, and intricately woven assemblages that serve as conceptual talismans of the collective American unconscious.
Roche received a BFA from the Film Conservatory at S.U.N.Y. Purchase College in 2004, and an MFA from the Mt. Royal School of Art at the Maryland Institute College of Art in 2008. His videos have been screened internationally at many venues including the Royal Academy of Arts/London, Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, J. Paul Getty Museum, Incubate Arts festival in Holland, ROJO@Nova 2010 in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and Baltimore Museum of Art.
In 2008 Roche took his first solo bow at RARE. In 2010, his second one-person exhibition, American Ectoplasm, took place at the Philip J. Steele Gallery, Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design, in Colorado. He was recently invited to be an artist-in-residence at ROJO@Nova 2011 in Rio de Janeiro. His work appears in numerous publications including Beautiful Decay; the New Museum’s Younger than Jesus: Artist Directory; the Spanish arts magazine, BELIO; and 100 New Artists, a book by Francesca Gavin scheduled for release in March 2011.