CressGallery

Keetra Dean Dixon & JK Keller "We Keep Having this Conversation"

Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller maintain separate and collaborative practices in graphic design. For this exhibition, they unite to visually explore the inherent malleability of language. Translation, miscommunication, and shifts in meaning take form in an expanded and elastic range of media and process-intensive materials.

September 16, 2014 - October 21, 2014

Keetra Dean Dixon and JK Keller are interdisciplinary graphic designers on the cutting edge of their field. Maintaining both separate and collaborative practices in graphic design, they work with emergent technologies, the complexities of semantics, and the endless array of tools and materials available today. For this exhibition, the two join forces to visually explore the inherent malleability of language, simultaneously amplifying and refuting the fallibility of communication.  Translation, misunderstanding, and shifts in meaning take physical form in an expanded and elastic range of media and process-intensive materials.

Straddling the disciplines of sculpture, painting, and craft while firmly referencing their roots in design, these hybrid artists employ whatever is needed to communicate their exploration of conceptual themes. Common materials from yard goods to office supplies are unexpectedly combined with traditional typography. Dissection, repetition, and physical manipulation visually disrupt the function of word and phrase to tease out multiple meanings ranging from subtle disagreement to humorous contradiction. For example, “AND YET” (2011), one of the nearly two-dozen works by Dixon and Keller appearing in the Cress, is a four foot long, three hundred pound object composed of layers of countless single pours of molten wax each mixed with acrylic paint in dozens of colors. The wax is poured over a relief of the capital letters of the title of the work, which when removed reveals them in relief. This laborious process contributes to the interpretation of the work, as despite our investment of time and energy in producing the present, the future is always qualified by what we cannot control.Dixon and Keller’s “AND YET” was selected for inclusion in "Graphic Design:Now in Production"a major international exhibition co-organized in 2012 by the Cooper Hewitt, National Design Museum (New York, NY) and the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis, MN.). This seminal survey explored the evolving nature of the field of graphic design over the past decade, and the changing role of today’s designers, as they become the producers of content and the shapers of experience. Dixon and Keller are clearly pioneers within this dynamic shift.

Keetra Dean Dixon (b. 1977, Anchorage, AK) received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Graphic Design from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design in 1999 and a Masters of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2006. She has served in the roles of Designer, Director, Experiential Choreographer, and Artist, has made numerous appearances as visiting artist, panel participant, speaker, and workshop leader at various institutions along both coasts of the United States, and was Associate Professor (2010-2012) at the Maryland Institute of Contemporary Art.  Awards include a 2005 .US. Presidential Teaching Award and a 2008 Art Director’s Club Young Gun Award. Dixon recently finished a design residency for “brazen experimentation in design practice”  with the Museum of Arts and Design, NYC.

Jonathan Keller Keller (b. 1976, Hutchinson, MN) received a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Interactive Multimedia from the Minneapolis College of Art + Design in 1999 and a Masters of Fine Arts from the Cranbrook Academy of Art in 2007. Working at the intersection of craft, collection, and computation, Keller’s work has been widely featured in various online locations including NYTimes.com, BoingBoing, and Yahoo!, and his videos have garnered views in the millions. His work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Vogele Kulture Zentrum, Pfaffikon, Switzerland; I Space, Chicago; and Australian Centre for Photography, Paddington, Australia, among other national and international galleries and institutions.

Together since 2006 Dixon and Keller‘s collaborative projects have been featured in GOOD Magazine, étapes Magazine, and several publications by Die-Gestalten. Their work has been exhibited at the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Smithsonian’s Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum, New York City; the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City; the Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; and the Southeast Center for Contemporary Art, Winston-Salem, NC. Living for many years in Baltimore and New York City, they currently reside in Homer, Alaska.

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Keetra Dean Dixon & JK Keller 2014