Jim Roche is a visual artist from Brooklyn, New York, currently living in Vancouver, British Columbia. He attended the School of the Worcester Art Museum and Clark University where he earned his undergraduate fine arts degree in painting and sculpture.
For a number of years he worked as a printmaker and his works are found in numerous private and corporate collections. He was represented by Orion Editions. His latest solo shows were at Armstrong State University in Savannah, Georgia and with OnoEditions, a print group he founded in Vancouver, British Columbia.
My artistic influences include the Boston School of the 1980s, artists like Katherine Porter, Robert Cronin, Todd McKie, as well as Elizabeth Murray, Jules Olitski (whose studio was across the street from my loft in Brooklyn), Gene Davis, Anthony Caro, Bruce Nauman, Larry Smith, Tony Smith, Richard Tuttle, Richard Serra, Donald Judd, Mark di Suvero, Isaac Witkin, Robert Morris and a few others. I like to keep this list around and look it over from time to time. Color field painting was most influential. Many of my current photos are influenced by these aesthetics. When I take out my list of influential artists the names remind me of particular lines, spatial arrangements and the life found in a lyrical mark or considered surface.
Important photographers: Martin Parr, Alex Soth, Robert Adams and a few others guide my camera. Robert Adams most of all. Writers include Yi Fu Tuan, John Brickerhoff Jackson, and others in the field of human geography. Most of my work focuses on issues of people relating to the landscape, including structures they build, gardens they tend and what they leave behind.
About the Series
Santiago Creek stretches across Orange County, California, for about 34 miles. The stream appears and disappears, sometimes hard to navigate. There is a wonderful repetition in the landscape, making you feel that you have been here, seen this, walked over those stones. The Santiago starts its life between Santiago Peak, the highest peek in the county, and Modjeska Peek, which together form the prominent Saddleback of the Santa Ana Mountains, often visible from the creek bed itself. It’s headwater rises towards the Santa Anna river, first running south-southwest toward Portola Hills before turning northwest. Downstream it receives Baker and Silverado Creeks and then after Santiago Canyon Road the gorge widens to a broad alluvial plain. The banks are now visible in the distance. The flow of water is limited to this upper stretch; below water flows underground except during the winter and early spring. Still, along its path water can percolate and sit on the surface.
Native peoples lived near this creek and in it’s watershed for nearly 12,000 years. Signs of a short lived silver boom in the 1870’s can be seen or imagined. More recent efforts to control and use the creek are seen in the more recent Santiago Dam, Irvine lake and the channelized portions of it’s lower flow. This, along with two other river systems, are my current projects.
Open House is a series of photos of remains and detritus from the lives of individuals whose houses are for sale. It is a series that explores how the sense of loss and discontinuity can be found in even the simplest of household items, a photo on a wall, a tv no longer functioning or a group of chairs once used to seat a multigenerational family, now scattered.
Dwellings are photos of homes taken in the US Northwest and British Columbia. These homes are often overly groomed, organized to an extreme, or perhaps just the opposite. They reflect those who live within and yet sometimes don't seem to relate to any real person at all.
Public Gardens | Private Yards Included in these two series are public gardens and walkways which reflect the influence of both those viewing the gardens, and the gardener's hand at creating this un-natural /natural landscape. The perfection can be unnerving, and the visual nature of the scene suddenly broken by a tree tied to a post, a water hose sticking out from a bush or a sudden clash of manufactured nature in the form of a metal tree or glass flowers. Private Yards looks at personal attempts at organizing and relating to the natural world and defining our space. As Yi-Fu Tuan would say, "Marking space place." These efforts often miss the mark. People trying to control their environment, trying to fit in to the neighborhood and be a good neighbour often create walls of difference. Private gardens have a long history, starting from the earliest times of cultivation when farmers often kept a separate space, clearly defined, that separated their garden from the farm and pasture lands. Today I often see a plant, shrub or tree taken from a garden centre and simply put in an empty space. However, it's lack of context doesn't cover up the gardener's thoughts and dreams. Meaning is most obvious in the mundane.
Out of Town is a recent series from a trip starting at the Pacific ocean near LA into central California, Nevada, Utah, Montana and Idaho. Odd and difficult to understand landscapes often contain man-made structures that, over time, start to take on the nature of the landscape around them. Old signs rot, fade, and behave in much the same way a dying joshua tree would, naturally fading into the landscape. Figures at a Dairy Queen become desert objects, just like plants and trees in the desert: properly placed, with enough distance to ensure their own integrity. Again, their survival depends upon being both part of the landscape and keeping their distance from it. These are basically photos of "what is already there," as Barthes would put it, they are preoccupations.
India shares a series of images from several trips that includes few of the expected sights and more of those that are less likely noticed. This is an ongoing project.
My work can also be found on Tumblr at jimroche.tumblr.com.
There I often put up test shots taken with my iPhone, sometimes photos that interest me by other artists, and whenever I run across a good video of an artist talk or interview, I post it there.
Works are available in limited editions of three to five. Sizes depend upon the individual work ranging from 10x15 to 20x30 inches. Please contact me directly about prints.