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Work Samples

JHU Medical Demolition #1 (2019)

A photomontage and mixed-media materials depicting an interior space of a demolition site on the Johns Hopkins Medical campus.

Self-portrait #2 (2000)

A self-portrait from 2000, composed of different black-and-white negative fragments.

Square Calendar #1 (2016)

A calendar of 12 months (the 12 around the perimeter) and 4 seasons (the 4 at the center).

The Square Route... (detail: square)

black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
A detail from The Square Route... (2001): Eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."

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About Dereck

Baltimore City

Dereck Mangus's picture
Dereck Stafford Mangus is a visual artist and writer based in Baltimore. In 2016, Mangus completed the MA program in Critical Studies at the Maryland Institute College of Art. This past May, his essay, "Picabia's Révérence," was published in Full Bleed, MICA's annual art and design journal. Last year, Mangus' exhibition review of "Odyssey: Jack Whitten Sculpture, 1963-2017" was selected as the winner of the Frieze Writer's Prize 2018.

Constructions, Pt. 1: The Ruins of Baltimore

In 2019, I began making photomontages of buildings in ruin around Baltimore. This project is an extension of my "Constructions" series of photomontages of buildings under construction (see below), but focuses on the deterioration of buildings, examples of which can be found throughout East and West Baltimore. Earlier this year, I was granted access to a demolition site at Johns Hopkins Medical to document its methodical destruction (the building is now completely gone); and I began exploring the Johnston Square neighborhood of Baltimore more, taking photos of the many abandoned buildings there.

Constructions, Pt. 2: Baltimore + New York

I am deeply inspired by the built environment in which I live and work. My Constructions illustrate this well. For this series of photomontages, I locate buildings under construction and take multiple shots across their façades, sometimes revisiting the site several times over the course of its development. I later re-construct the multiple shots (and shoots) into one larger composite image.

Constructions, Pt. 3: Boston + Cambridge

The photomontage format of shooting is familiar to many tourists and reminiscent of the photographic work of David Hockney. But by specifically focusing on construction and renovation—and now, demolition and abandoned—sites, I create a space for communication between the three-dimensional materiality of architecture and its two-dimensional representation. The various materials of art and architecture recombine in this series to convey a sense of perpetual flux.

The Square Project, Pt. 1: Baltimore

The Square Project began in 2001 as a postal art exchange between my older sister and myself while she was studying design in London and I was studying art at UMass Boston. I was enrolled in a photography course and trying to come up with a final project when, for whatever reason, we began playing around with the different meanings of the word "square" in our mailings. "Square" could be a formal design element or a slang affront: "You are such a square!"

The Square Project, Pt. 2: Square Calendar #1

Squares are everywhere in the built environment: buttons, drains, hatches, signs, windows, and vents for example. The square also represents time, with its four equal sides suggesting the four seasons, and in the form of the calendar, with its grid of squares demarcating days of the week. In 2016, I designed a calendar based on my square series and mailed them out to friends, family, colleagues, and artists whose work I admire. I included 16 square photographs (12 months + 4 seasons) and the necessary hardware for assembling a wall hanging.

The Square Project, Pt. 3: Boston

This got me thinking about how something so simple could work on so many levels. I was shooting with medium format film, which makes square negatives, so it just made sense to begin shooting square things I came across in the world. I’ve been doing so ever since. What began as a playful postal art correspondence evolved into a sustained photo series, and ultimately the subject of my graduate thesis, "The Persistence of and Resistance to Structure: The Grid-Square Construct in Western Visual Culture."

The Square Project, Pt. 1: The Square Route...

For this playful piece, I had several friends and family members hold square signs. Each one had a different word in the sentence, "The square root of eighty-one is nine," when read in a square format, from left to right, then down, then to the left, and up.

  • The Square Route... (2001)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    Eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: the)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: square)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: root)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: of)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: eighty)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: one)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: is)

    Black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."
  • The Square Route... (detail: nine)

    black and white photography, math, medium format, squares, square root
    One of eight black-and-white medium format photographs arranged into a grid to be read from the top left and around in a clockwise rotation to form the sentence: "The square root of eighty one is nine."

Faces

Like the façade of a building, a person's face alters over time; it cracks and fades with age. Some faces age with grace and beauty like ancient architecture. Others do not. When people pose for a photograph, they freeze and standing perfectly still, stare into the camera's lens: the eyes are the windows to the soul. People and buildings are constantly in flux and have multiple levels of meaning. Some are simple, others more complex. Some faces and buildings have intriguing histories. But every face has a story to tell.