“I Wish I Was Happy” is a retrospective of Bob Zoell’s aluminum parking sign serigraphs. Adopting the visual language of the street signs that guide us through our daily lives, Zoell’s often politically charged, text-based works provoke viewers with their to-the-point declarations. Touching on issues such as war and civil liberties, the signs seem to echo the heightened political awareness that exists in this election year.
Bob Zoell has made [signs] to resemble the red and white signs that publicize parking regulations throughout the city. In each, words are broken into fragments that are printed in different sizes and scripts. Forming funny phrases, they recall the mix-and-match typefaces of ransom notes, albeit extremely stylish ones.
In the early 1990s, Zoell placed his fake signs around Los Angeles. If you didn’t look closely, you’d drive by without noticing. But once one of these playful pranks caught your eye, it enlivened its surroundings with the sense that secret messages could be read everywhere, if only you took the time to look closely.