MESSAGES, MEMORIES AND DREAMS MARCH 2 7 – A P R I L 2 6 , 2 0 1 4
MESSAGES, MEMORIES AND DREAMS New Paintings by Joseph Adolphe MARCH 27 – APRIL 26, 2014
Joseph Adolphe www.josephadolphe.com © Joseph Adolphe, 2014 All photography © Joseph Adolphe All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission in writing from Joseph Adolphe. Designed by Tracy Hua www.tracy-hua.com Joseph Adolphe is represented by: Bertrand Delacroix Gallery 535 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001 Cover: THE PROMISE 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in. Back cover: ANOTHER REVELATION 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in.
Bertrand Delacroix Gallery 535 West 25th Street New York, NY 10001 212.627.4444 www.bdgny.com
LAST THINGS NO. 2 2014, Oil on canvas, 66 x 62 in.
MESSAGES, MEMORIES AND DREAMS New Paintings by Joseph Adolphe
Bertrand Delacroix Gallery, NYC March 27–April 26, 2014
PAINTING Regardless of the subject matter, Joseph’s approach to painting is always a visceral and physical confrontation with the paint, himself and the world. Painting in a classic expressionistic style he infuses his work with an explosive sense of desperation, often scraping out and removing more paint than is left on the canvas. In an attempt to “capture not just the created thing, but the forces that shape the created thing” he has developed his technique to a point where he insists that “one paints how one lives his life—I don’t live life from a stool, so neither do I paint from a stool.” Paintings representing such diverse themes as bombs, flowers, bulls, crumpled fabric or paper and pretty girls in water all carry his signature style of ferocious mark-making and explosive compositions. To the casual viewer, these themes seem unrelated to each other except in technique, but to the careful observer they in fact are all intimately related to each other, like pieces of a puzzle, or fragments of a story that has not been fully told. In fact, Joseph has always maintained that he paints the same things over and over, just in different ways—as if “I’m trying to more clearly understand and describe my world and my place in it...my purpose for being here at all.” “All of my paintings are self-portraits...psychologically speaking. They are a manifestation of my personal failings, my vices and fears—my joys, ambitions and dreams—I suppose that by that definition they are, for lack of a better word, prayers.”
LOCUTIONS In every person’s life there are moments when a powerful voice or inspiration changes the trajectory of his or her life. These messages or inspirations or whatever they may be called can’t be accurately put into words because words can only describe what words can describe. A painting is required to more clearly describe the inherent power-to-persuade these moments represent. When I was a boy I was frequently overcome by fear and anxiety attacks. I remember clearly two times specifically, at the apex of such an attack a feeling of relief would wash over me, as if someone opened a window letting a cool breeze into a stuffy hot room. This feeling of relief would consume me and ease all of my anxieties. It was as if a divine power enveloped me, held me and told me that “everything was going to be okay.” Those two incidents began a lifelong awareness of similar events and circumstances that shaped who I am today, for better or worse.
FLOATING 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in.
I suppose that the composition of these paintings which resemble the vast landscapes of the Canadian prairies from which I come, and the weather phenomenon known as Chinooks of which I enjoyed during my youth while I lived on the prairies have played a role in the physical make up of these paintings, but regardless of where these occurrences physically take place, they always find their home in the mind and heart where hope is in turmoil with uncertainty and fear.
ANIMALS, THE GARDEN AND EVERYTHING ELSE All of my paintings, whatever the subject matter have at their core the same content. I’m always trying to capture in paint energy, enthusiasm and power. These characteristics embody the essence of those people who I have come to admire and try to emulate. Not necessarily painters but individuals who have had to overcome great obstacles in their lives. And almost always, the formula for overcoming the difficulties of life involves an acceptance of the task at hand and then an internal struggle to find the will to do what has to be done. All of my heroes gave their lives for an ideal and in so doing become sacred to me. The only way I can describe the feelings I experience when considering these things is when I consider the sacrifice of something so beautiful, pure, and powerful as a bull (bred to be harmful to man) or in the unbridled and perfectly free dance of the horse. In order to explore more completely the above-mentioned themes, it became necessary for me to consider subjects that could organically spread throughout a composition without losing their structural identity. The scale of my floral work is conceptually very important, as these flowers are not small and precious but aggressively powerful and indomitable. In another sense, like my sacred bulls, they cannot die or wither—they live forever.
EQUUS NO. 1 2014, Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 62 x 58 in.
EQUUS NO. 2 2014, Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 62 x 58 in.
pp. 6–7 FRATRES NO. 4 2014, Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 62 x 76 1/2 in.
TORO SAGRADO NO. 15 2013, Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 60 x 54 in.
TORO SAGRADO NO. 16 2013, Oil and gold leaf on canvas, 54 x 60 in.
THE MEMORY GARDEN NO. 1 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in.
THE MEMORY GARDEN NO. 2 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in.
HOTHOUSE BLOSSUM NO. 3 2014, Oil on canvas, 70 x 80 in.
FRATRES NO. 2 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in.
pp. 14–15 FRATRES NO. 1 2014, Oil on canvas, 79 x 105 in.
A LAMENTATION 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in.
A PETITION 2013, Oil on canvas, 96 x 80 in.
Joseph Adolphe, born in 1968 in Alberta, Canada, moved to New York City in 1992 to attend the School of Visual Arts where he received his MFA in 1994. He has received several awards and honors for his work and his paintings have been featured in over forty exhibitions since 1998 throughout the United States and internationally. He lives with his wife and children in New Haven, Connecticut. www.josephadolphe.com
Canadian artist Joseph Adolphe returns to Bertrand Delacroix Gallery (Chelsea NYC) with a highly anticipated solo exhibition of new work.