Namon Bill's "Bird" almost seems to evoke the entire concept in a single piece. Structured almost like a business sign, "Bird" is covered with torn, half-visible fragments of highway signs, hotel signs and maps from several different states.
Blending in with these are fragments of crossword puzzles, which are lodged in the memory of many road-trip survivors, and pages of state history books like those found at old tourist sites. Even music becomes nothing more than black dots on a page, lost in the midst of everything else. It's weeks and even months of driving caught in a single, sun-faded image, all of it eerily evocative of what it might feel like to live a life of transition.
Another side-effect of life on the road is that everything begins to look the same after so many miles of travel. Small towns are especially at risk for this, highlighted and almost parodied in a series of works by artist Justin Wheatley.
Bearing the names of several smaller Utah Cities -- Panguitch, Fairview, Garden City -- the works all feature a single suburban house framed by flat, dark ground and an immense, empty background space. Though the houses themselves are different colors and styles, each is clean, box-like and empty-seeming, totally devoid of the personality of an area or anyone who might be living inside. The title of one piece, also a real Utah city, seems both a dark joke and a theme for the entire collection -- "Orderville."
There are, of course, also natural interludes to any road trip, highlighted here by Steph Johnson's ghostly pen, ink and watercolor sketches. But even these are faded and stretched out by miles on the road, the man-made elements in each reduced to flat, obliterating fields of white with the bursts of natural color and life melting away around corners and into the background. Johnson's sketches are the visual representations of half-finished memories, scraps of stable living slowly eaten away by the wind rushing past the car window.