Jake Longstreth is an artist who muses on the open-ended banality of contemporary landscapes. While is work is indebted to California painter Robert Bechtle’s harshly-lit, 1970s suburbia, Longstreth’s paintings and photographs of big box stores, mall parking lots, and steakhouse architecture capture longing—the desire for more, even as this consumption is hollow. The bio on his website sums up the visuals:
It's two in the afternoon on a Tuesday. The sky is perfectly clear, the sun is bright and I'm parked in an empty lot facing a Blockbuster Video and Quizno's Sub. I'm thirsty, so I walk into the Quizno's and buy a small beverage cup and fill it with lemonade at the soda fountain. I hear Don Henley's song "The End of the Innocence" piped into the store at low volume. It sounds tinny, but surprisingly good. I loiter near the entrance for a little while and admire the large format prints of sandwiches and wet, fresh-looking produce hanging on the walls. I wish I could make pictures that sumptuous and bold. I start to get lost in the details of the photos before I realize that I am getting cold. As I leave, I notice one of the Sandwich Artists is wearing long sleeves. She must be cold too. I walk back to the car and sit in the drivers seat, scanning the radio dial for a good song. The classic rock station is in the middle of an Eagles "Rock-Block." They are playing "The Last Resort," the closing number on Hotel California, I think. 1976. I haven't heard it in a while. It sounds great.
"Who will provide the grand design, what is yours and what is mine?
'Cause there is no more new frontier, we have got to make it here"....
I “rediscovered” a few of Jake’s photographs in my Boring folder. (My intent was to publish several pages for them in the hard copy.) It turns out that he had a solo show, Wabi Ranch, this past January at Gregory Lind Gallery in San Francisco. His 2007 work adds a bit more pastoral to the picture.