Joseph Yetto Paintings and Drawings

May 24 through June 22, 2014
Opening Reception Saturday May 24, 5-7pm

Joe’s work is not entirely about the object being represented. The object is but a structural element for exploration and engagement. The painting itself is the object Joe is interested in and he chooses organic objects that have an interesting shape or human like character. Joe has drawn and painted many wasp nests over the years because they each have a uniqueness to them as well as shared structural properties much like a human portrait.

Often Joe will spend months dedicated to two or three paintings at a time while other paintings may hang on the studio wall for months untouched. When he revisits the paintings, he feels as if they had been communicating with him during the months they were hanging in his studio.

In Joe’s words, “My process involves working from direct observation. I spend a lot of time just looking at the object. I weave together a process of painting and scraping, creating unexpected results and surfaces. Each work develops a history this way. Some moments of this process are revealed in the end and other moments are hidden under the skin of the work. Experiencing my paintings is like being with a person. Sometimes one can tell things about a person from the characteristics of their skin but there is a lot buried beneath that can only be revealed through prolonged contact and dialogue. I aim to avoid creating pretty images or illustrations of reality. I want my works to feel like they are alive, real and a bit raw.”

This process applies to Joe’s microscope work as well. He finds his subject matter in windowsills and corners of rooms. The finds are mostly flies, moths and bees. Joe places the insect under the microscope and looks for an interesting composition. Though still working from a single object, these works tend to become otherworldly. He looks back and forth from the microscope to the paper or canvas and attempts to remember what he saw, then transfers it to the support. Often he forgets the shape he needs to make and goes back and looks again and again. As with Joe’s paintings, these works get scraped and sanded as much as the still life objects. The main intent is developing a history.


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