Daniel Giles

Visual Art: Sign Walk

During his residency at High Concept Labs, Daniel Giles will focus on documenting a series of performances in various public spaces within Chicago. Giles’ “Sign Walks” extend the artist’s studio-based sculptural practice into the public realm, instigating new  relationships between abstract forms, his body and people encountered on the street. These performances ask an indeterminate audience to navigate unknown or recontextualized signifiers as they allude to the politics of representation and visual modes of display. Giles will stage, restage and expand on previously performed works, giving them new form through the medium of video. Each of these works takes the artist as its primary subject and a visual embodiment of a perceptual and social agitation.

Giles’ “Sign Walks” deploys various apparatuses of display used in advertising, ritual performance and political speech in order to challenge the boundaries of language through abstractions of bodily and spatial  signifiers. The “Sign Walks” encourage viewers to engage their interpretive abilities while re-forming conceptions of identity and its bearing on larger social and institutional structures.

In addition to his works in performance, Giles will continue to refine his approach to installation and sculpture as well as ongoing research-based projects related to the wider themes of his practice. Often employing ubiquitous materials, such as brightly colored hair extensions, Giles creates installations that also engage viewer’s perception and navigation of physical spaces. Engaging aspects of craft and hybridized cultural expressions, these works exist in conversation with the artist’s works in performance, extending these dialogues through space and materiality.

About the Artist:

Daniel Giles is a Chicago-based multidisciplinary artist. His practice addresses the mediation and consumption of cultural mythologies and the permutation of social archetypes. Employing a range of practices including sculpture, installation and performance, Giles negotiates the spaces, tropes and artifacts of consumer display, public spectacle and political speech. Central to his practice are questions regarding the ways we create, reorganize and dismantle racial and national epistemologies. Drawing inspiration from black radical aesthetic traditions, early 20th century aesthetic theories and late century critical practices, Giles excavates the many layers of historiography and perception underlying our engagement with our material and social landscape.

Giles received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and his MFA from Northwestern University dept. of Art Theory and Practice in 2013. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2013.