TheSquare Projectbegan 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!"
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."
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.
Calendar Mailer #1, 2016
Calendar Mailer #2, 2016
Mt. Vernon, 2015
New York, 2007-2017
Washington, D.C., 2008-2017
San Francisco, 2009
Back Bay, 2011-2014
Allston #2, 2014
Allston #1, 2001
I am deeply inspired by the built environment in which I live and work. My Constructionsillustrate 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.
This format is familiar to many tourists and is reminiscent of the photographic work of David Hockney. But by specifically focusing on construction and renovation 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 analogy of work, as in how human beings work their environment through abstract strategies and concrete structures and how artists re-work that same environment through visual representation, connects the two activities of art and architecture. A landscape is something that is worked over by human processes. Workers shape the land and artists re-interpret and re-present it in their artwork.
Johns Hopkins Medical Demolition, 2019
MIT Stata Center, 2017
Hudson Yards, New York #2, 2016
Hudson Yards, New York #1, 2016
62 Quint Avenue, Allston, 2014
Boylston + Kilmarnock, Boston, 2014
113-115 Holton Street, Allston, 2014
578 Huntington Avenue, Boston, 2014
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge #1, 2012
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge #2, 2012-2013
Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge #3, 2013
Gardner Museum #1, Boston, 2010
Gardner Museum #2, Boston, 2010
510 Atlantic Avenue, Boston, 2004
Somerville Construction #1, 2003
One Nassau, Boston, 2003
43 Vassar Street, Cambridge, 2003
MIT Stata Center, Cambridge #1, 2003
One Lincoln Street, Boston, 2002
41 Gardner Street, Allston, 2001
Nantucket Construction #1, 2001
While looking out the window as a child, I would pass the time alternating my focus between the mesh of the window screen and the world beyond. Years later, while photographing a small chair by a seaside cliff, I decided to capture it through a screen door, which resulted in a more abstract image. I am interested in the liminal space between abstraction and representation. My Grids exemplify this.
Like squares, grids are found throughout the built environment. From urban street layouts to agricultural fields, grids are used to measure, order, and rationalize space. Grids come in a variety of sizes and serve a range of functions. Whether in the lay of the land or the look of modern art, and from ancient mosaics to the pixels of digital technologies, grids inform our visual culture.
Storefront Window, 2012
Saint Paul, 2017
Station North, 2017
Court Square, 2017
West Fayette, 2015
Allston Winter, 2015
Charles Basin, 2014
Winter Hill, 2012
Wilson Park No. 1 (Winter), 2012
Wilson Park No. 2 (Spring), 2012
Wilson Park No. 3 (Summer), 2012
Wilson Park No. 4 (Fall), 2012
Spring Hill, 2010
East Boston from the ICA, 2010
Train + Fence, 2009
Abandoned Lot, 2009
TV + Window, 2009
Shadows + Tiles, 2007
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.
Mr. Melish, 2015
Don & Eunice, 2014
Darth Vidal, 2014
Dereck No. 2, 2014
Dereck No. 1, 2013
Charlie Funk, 2012
Crazy John, 2001
Self-portrait No. 1, 2000
Self-portrait No. 2, 2000
Self-portrait 1–4, 2000
Dereck Stafford Mangus was born on February 1, 1978, a few days before an historic blizzard hit New England. He grew up in Hudson, MA, an old shoe mill town on the Assabet River, and was introduced to art at an early age by his older sister. Mangus currently lives and works in Baltimore, MD.
Patterson Park in Baltimore, 2017
At the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, 2017
Working on a mailer, 2016
Dericka No. 1, 2014
Taking a shot, 2013
Appreciating Rothko, 2009
At MoMA, 2008
Blankets in the Park is a concept for a temporary public art installation that would provide free blankets to Boston's homeless while promoting homelessness awareness in the general public. By representing the homeless population of Boston with the same number of blankets on the historic grounds of Boston Common, Blankets in the Park would address a serious social issue within the framework of a contemporary art project.
Blankets in the Park (Logo), 2009
Blankets in the Park (Text), 2009
Blankets in the Park (Poster) No. 2, 2009
Blankets in the Park (Map), 2009
Blankets in the Park (Photo), 2009
The Heinz Label Project was a “culture-jamming” campaign that humorously drew attention to the issue of money in mainstream politics. By highlighting the connection between 2004 Democratic Party nominee Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and his wife Teresa Heinz’ fortune, this tongue-in-cheek guerrilla art project playfully reminded the public of the fortunes necessary for mainstream political campaigns.
Heinz Label Project, 2004
Heinz Label Project (Poster), 2004
Heinz Label Project (Single Label), 2004
Heinz Label Project (9 Labels), 2004
Heinz Label Project (fronts + backs), 2004
Heinz Label Project (36-oz. Back), 2004
Heinz Label Project (EZ-squeeze Back), 2004
Heinz Label Project (Documentation), 2004
Bush Blew, 2008
Thisseries of photo-illustrations explores the ways in which humans conceive of and develop land. The aerial views of floor plans are projected onto ground level views of landscapes, producing a conceptual tension. By juxtaposing landscape photography with floor plans, I create new spaces in which to contemplate our relationship with the natural world.
Landplan #6 (Arnold Arboretum), 2009
Landplan #5 (The Fells), 2009
Landplan #4 (Concord), 2007
Landplan #3 (Over Minneapolis), 2004
Landplan #2 (Concord River), 2004
Landplan #1 (Alaska), 2004
As a designer, I have enjoyed working with many types of organizations, from The Boston Globe to smaller, more independent publications, as well as a freelance designer. Aside from simply being learning experiences, many of my favorite positions were those that cultivated comfort and energy within a collaborative, fast-paced environment, where I excelled in conceptualizing projects through to their final production.
Art Exhibition Poster, 2011
Museum Brochure, 2017
Film Festival Poster, 2011
Album Cover Design, 2008
Album Design, 2008
Bicycle Ride Poster, 2008
Bicycle Ride Poster, 2005
Street Magazine Cover, 2007
Street Magazine Art, 2004
The Boston Globe - "Calendar Choice" Spreads, 2004
The Boston Globe - "TV Week" Covers, 2004
Environmental Studies Program / UMass Boston Logo, 2003
The Mass Media - "Question of the Week" and "Art to the Editor" Page, 2003
The Mass Media - "Question of the Week" Spreads, 2002