Continually inspired by the immediate surroundings of his urban neighborhood, Bill Gross creates work that both records and reconsiders his environment. Gross' compositions depict fragments of signs, brick walls, and architectural details primarily located on the West Side of Chicago. In this recent series, Gross has reassessed this familiar subject by utilizing a monochromatic, gray palette. Removing color from the work, he has diminished the nostalgic effect of the images. The paintings are more flat than Gross's previous work-locations are less recognizable and the images appear at times almost animated.
These smart, playful works derive from Gross's preoccupation with the coexistence of abstract and representational art. While his compositions have identifiable elements, such as text from a meat packing company's sign, the influence of mid-century modernists such as Ellsworth Kelly is apparent. Some of the paintings are presented on multiple panels-a technique that further fragments yet oddly completes the piece. This is just one of several ways Gross deftly creates a sense of displacement for the viewer. Merging vernacular street imagery with modernist abstract art, Gross allows us to find new meaning in the familiar.