FotoFest Exhibitions

Greg Stimac

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In Peeling Out, Greg Stimac presents a sequence of otherwise quiet country roads screeching and roaring, as a series of pickup trucks, muscle cars, motorcycles, and classic roadsters race with unjustified urgency into the distance. America’s often romanticized “ribbons of highway” and “endless byways” become literally scarred by such aggressive acts of bravado. With each cut to a new road and a new vehicle, a distinct sense of frustration, anger, and aggression grows; tires spin, rubber burns, and smoke rises. But then gradually the mood dissipates as each car eases out of view, ultimately revealing the utter futility and impotence of the act itself.


Stimac’s Car Wash also focuses on a subject that intermittently screeches – in this case, a high school girl who poses for passing cars with a handmade sign, screaming, “Car wash! Getch your car washed! Over there! Woo-hoo!” repeatedly over the rush of traffic. In one sense, the piece celebrates a certain naïve entrepreneurial spirit common to the American landscape. Yet as the video progresses, the girl’s piercing sales pitch, incessant fake smile, skimpy neon-pink dress, and perky cheerleader moves seem to contaminate the innocence of the scene with a somewhat desperate, exploitative, and overtly sexualized tone, typical within mainstream American commercialism today. Metaphorically at least, it could easily be interpreted that a girl standing on a street corner, dancing and waving in a skin-tight outfit as passing truckers honk and shout, is selling more than a car wash, no matter what her sign might say.

Greg Stimac explores the American ideologies found in mowing suburban lawns, campfires, snowmen, roadside memorials erected after automobile accidents, discarded urine-filled plastic bottles, and gunplay at unregulated outdoor firing ranges spread throughout the United States. Stimac’s photographic series, Recoil, is comprised of images of recreational sport shooters at ranges found in Missouri and California firing their weapons toward the viewer. Photographing gun flash, gun smoke, and shell ejection approaches America’s love of and identity with firearms. In 2005, Stimac received his B.F.A. in photography from Columbia College, Chicago, and was awarded an Albert P. Weisman Memorial Fellowship. His photographs have been shown at Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Crocker Art Museum, Sacramento; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis. Stimac was born in Euclid, Ohio in 1976. He currently lives and works in Chicago.