Ross Sawyers

Ross Sawyers began constructing and photographing small-scale models of bare domestic interiors after noticing a dramatic increase in the number of high-density housing developments in his own community. His pictures mimic the uniform living spaces commonly seen in new construction, but he adds exaggerated architectural elements to suggest the ways that close proximity living demands certain sacrifices in domestic comfort. His works follow the psychology of a boom-and-bust era in residential housing that continues to play out today. He challenges the function of the model as an ideal to be copied, using miniature structures to highlight the anxieties and frustrations that many home-buyers and renters have encountered in the current, fast changing real-estate market. This is evident not only in the models Sawyers builds, but also in his choice to present his final works as photographs. Photography’s tenuous relationship to truth and reality is a fitting metaphor for the illusions of property value.

Ross earned his MFA from the University of Washington in 2007. His work has been featured in FOAM Magazine and the Magenta Foundation publication Flash Forward 2012. His work has been exhibited recently at Unseen Photo Fair in Amsterdam and in the exhibition The Ghosts of Architecture at the Henry Art Gallery (University of Washington, Seattle, WA). His work is in the permanent collections of The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL), the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO) and the Henry Art Gallery (Seattle, WA). He is currently Assistant Professor of Photography at Columbia College (Chicago, IL).

 

THE JUNGLE series

JUNGLE #1, 2015, archival inkjet print, 37.5 x 30 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 
 

JUNGLE #2, 2015, archival inkjet print, 37.5 x 30 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

JUNGLE #3, 2015, archival inkjet print, 37.5 x 30 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

JUNGLE #4, 2015, archival inkjet print, 30 x 44 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

JUNGLE #5, 2015, archival inkjet print, 37.5 x 30 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

JUNGLE #6, 2015, archival inkjet print, 37.5 x 30 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

JUNGLE #7, 2016, archival inkjet print, 30 x 45 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

JUNGLE #8, 2016, archival inkjet print, 30 x 45 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

SERIES INFO

This 2016 body of work focuses on exteriors, some seemingly constructed with materials at hand, some perhaps existing structures that have been altered; more symbols of habitats than anything inhabitable. “My intention with these photographs and the work I have done in the recent past is to make connections between the Present and periods in the Past that have perhaps seen similar circumstances with similar consequences.”


 

THIS IS THE PLACE series

THIS IS THE PLACE, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

UNTITLED, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

NOTHING DOING HERE, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

KEEP QUIET, 2013, archival inkjet print, 40 x 30 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 
 

NOT A SAFE PLACE, 2013, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

SERIES INFO

Since 2003, Ross has produced photographs that distill subtle but important aspects of urban domestic architecture. Throughout the evolution of this project he has remained focused on living spaces and how he relates to, and understands, those spaces in the context of contemporary culture. His pictures examine and exaggerate issues of privacy and community as well as scrutinize the ways the structures we call home affect us. 

This is the Place brings together seven new photographs from Sawyers’s ongoing project Model Pictures. In the vein of the previous work, these new photographs are of models constructed and shot in the studio, however drawing and mark making take a much more dominant role in these images. Symbols drawn and scratched onto the walls of these spaces make direct reference to the ways people use their dwellings as a means of communication and as a stage to act out frustrations and anxieties.

 

DISMANTLED ROOMS series

 

UNTITLED, (1), 2011, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

UNTITLED, (2), 2011, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

UNTITLED, (3), 2011, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

UNTITLED, (4), 2011, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

UNTITLED, (5), 2011, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

UNTITLED, (6), 2011, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

 

UNTITLED, (7), 2011, archival inkjet print, 30 x 40 inches, edition of 5, $2,500

SERIES INFO

“In 2011, as the increasing density of neighborhoods and suburbs driven by the housing boom turned into the mass of foreclosures caused by the collapse of the housing market, my interests too, shifted from creating over-exaggerated physical spaces to creating increasingly psychological spaces that reference patterns of destruction and vandalism inflicted on these spaces by former inhabitants.

“These photographs are an attempt to question the distinction between a building and a home and at the same time draw attention the purpose of the deliberate destructive mark. Through the process of foreclosure, the homes I am referencing undergo an immediate transformation from home to empty building, striping these spaces of the weight and significance associated with the idea of home. Often, as a last act, inhabitants of these spaces destroy or vandalize them as if to mark territory or as an attempt to remind others of their presence after they are gone.

“The way I construct these spaces is a direct reference to the uniformity of design and level of craft often associated with new residential developments. The common building methods, combined with the deliberate destructive marks I inflict upon them are designed to invoke a sense of vacancy and loss in a space that appears ready to collapse at any moment while at the same time making direct reference to those who may have previously inhabited them.”

 

BLUE, SKY series

Available inventory

 

BLUE, SKY 1, 2008, archival inkjet print 30 x 40 inches, edition of 8, #7 and #8 available, framed, $3,200