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BLANK BILLBOARDS

ARTIST STATEMENT


My large-scale images of blank billboards, illuminated at night, mean different things to different people.  To some, they’re a symbol of urban waste, a crumbling economy, or a vision of the Apocalypse.  To others, they’re calming and Zen-like.  Mark Feeney, the Pulitzer Prize-winning critic for The Boston Globe, described one of the images as a “spooky expanse of rectilinear whiteness aglow with mystery and veiled revelation.”

For me, the images are about a culture obsessed with consumption – a society that often equates happiness with the accumulation of things.  “Keeping up with the Joneses.”  It helps drive our economy, this relentless desire to buy more stuff.  But the endless need to consume can be poison.  It’s killing the environment.  And, it’s an empty and unfulfilling pursuit.

The purpose of an advertisement, of course, is to convince us to consume.  A billboard is just an extreme example, an advertisement on steroids that shouts its message from high above:  Buy a Big Mac!  Buy an SUV!  Buy a Razor with Five Blades!

But a blank billboard, if read literally, delivers a decidedly different message: “Live Simply.  Don’t Buy Anything.”

BRIAN KAPLIN

BIOGRAPHY

Brian Kaplan spent three years as an assistant to a two-time Pulitzer Prize winning photojournalist at The Boston Globe Now, he uses a large format, 4x5 camera to create images about American culture and the natural world. His photographs have been exhibited in the United States, including at the Danforth Museum of Art, Griffin Museum of Photography, Provincetown Art Museum, Houston Center for Photography, Schoolhouse Gallery, StoneCrop Gallery, St. Botolph Club and Panopticon Gallery.  His work is in numerous private collections and in the permanent collection of the Danforth Museum.

Brian Kaplan is represented by Panopticon Gallery, Boston, MA.


www.briankaplanphoto.com