“Over the past three years, artist John Raymond Mireles has worked to unite Americans across geographical, political, cultural and other differences by photographing individuals from all 50 U.S. States + Tijuana, and publicly exhibiting their portraits. Mireles connects with his subjects up close and enlarges the resulting portraits to larger-than-life scale in order to encourage viewers to intimately relate to and empathize with their fellow residents of the United States of America.” The exhibit, Neighbors: John Raymond Mireles is now on view at First Street Green.
In addition, the artist has included several portraits taken in the Lower East Side neighborhood, where Mireles lives and works.
The Neighbors Project focuses on Mireles’ perception of America’s shattered national unity. His use of a fence as the way to exhibit ‘Neighbors’ is a thoughtful and impactful way to display ~ considering our national discussion regarding ‘walls.’ It is hammered home with 300-feet of fence carrying the exhibition along East Houston Street ~ a street with cars, trucks, bikes carrying people of every age, ethnicity and religious belief.
Mireles photographed over 3,000 subjects for this project. Notice that the artist strips away the background surrounding each portrait, allowing viewers to connect with the subjects, wherever in the U.S. they are located.
The exhibition, Neighbors, has been on tour at galleries around the country ~ most recently in San Diego’s Barrio Logan where he installed 41 portraits along several hundred feet of public space adjacent to Chicano Park.
His subjects are diverse ~ they may not be your neighbors, but they are a cross-section of the people who make up our national community. “And like any good neighbor, we help each other feel welcome, safe and recognized.” And therein lies the focus and message of this exhibition. Below are a few more images of the portraits along First Street Green.
John Raymond Mireles has been a commercial photographer since the 1990s, with Fortune 500 clients like DuPont, Intuit, and Pfizer. He has pursued social issues with documentary projects about the oil boom in North Dakota, life in the contemporary art hub of Berlin, economic disparity in the California desert, and the people who make up central New Mexico.
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The First Street Green Art Park is located at 33 East First Street, on East Houston, Lower East Side. The exhibition, Neighbors, is made possible through First Street Green and NYC Parks & Recreation.
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