Drawing inspiration from his youth as a grocery store bagger in the Milwaukee suburbs, as well as his side-gig as a commercial photography assistant, Gent addresses the simultaneously intimate and revealing practice of consumption. The title, Not Quite As Good Because of You, comes from a simultaneously inspiring and intimidating message from the president of in the Publix Employee Handbook. The exhibition features photographs of consumer products that appear unfinished or slightly off, and outtakes from commercial shoots that appear in-progress. In combination with the photographs, Gent constructs a large-scale installation of all the contents in his bedroom, even his bed, using custom-made paper and plastic bags. The installation flips the grocery-bagger-as-voyeur paradigm on its head by allowing the viewer to scan the items of Gent’s life in neat everyday packages.
Gent states, “While being a bagger you see peoples consumption habits, you observe the intimacy and consistency in which people purchase goods.” Gent articulates this intimacy through the carefully selected items found in the photographs. The outtakes from commercial shoots show a far less polished side of consumer advertisement, playing on the consumer’s own expectations of quality.
Since 2005, I have been making photographs that examine the personal, encompassing distinct people and events: my aunt who has Down syndrome, my cousin in her role as a single mother, the suicide of a friend, and my own adolescence. The process of making art is a way for me to deconstruct, abstract and build connections from the personal narratives upon which I bear witness. In my studio I employ found photographs, painting, sculpture, and the camera to create more abstract works that supplement images made directly with my subjects. This process of exploring different materials and media allows further development and manipulation of my open photographic narratives.
Two current projects, Jennifer and Rich, consist open narratives that include portraits, landscapes and still lifes. The Jennifer series is fabricated around my cousin’s life as an ex-model and single mother. The photographs are my interpretation of her journey toward her childhood dream. I am interested in the intricacy of an “incomplete family” and the vigor it takes to be a single mother. The Rich series is a selection of works that consider forlorn aspects of living. I want to investigate the breakdown of reality that results from the loss of an individual. These photographs introduce the unspeakable place we find ourselves as we encounter life’s poignant complications.
Click on any of the thumbnail images to launch the viewer. You can then navigate forward and backward within the portfolio by clicking the left or right side of the enlarged image. Click the add to collection checkbox to automatically add an image to your collection. Image tags or search engine keywords appear below the collections' checkbox and each word or phrase is a link to potentially more image matches.