Joe Wardwell’s new paintings combine popular rock lyrics and images from the American West positing a relationship between texts and the landscapes they inhabit and describe. Wardwell taps into the popular imagination by contrasting some of the loudest and heaviest of rock anthems with his open, often infinite landscapes linking this imagery with the established cultural images conjured up by the artist’s selection of song lyrics. By creating a range of commentary from the obvious to the opaque, these paintings explore the nature of aesthetic response, how both song and image play upon the psyche at multiple levels simultaneously. This often riotous music, becomes strangely quiet, meditative, and introspective. The artist pictures a world that is not based in reality, but in a subtly altered mirrored reality created by essential and timely contact with music, words, form, and color.
Joseph Wardwell was born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and raised in Seattle Washington. Joe is a professor of painting and drawing at Brandeis University in Waltham Ma. and lives in Boston. He has exhibited throughout the New England area. This is Mr. Wardwell’s first exhibition at Heskin Contemporary and first in New York City.