BO JOSEPH’s (b. 1969, California) work is distinguished by a complex and labor-intensive process that he has developed over the years, which begins with a selection of images culled from his vast archive of catalogs, personal photographs and books. In both Joseph’s cast bronze sculptures and joined paper pieces, the selected souvenirs are visually stripped of normal reference points and distilled into solid shapes. In the paintings on paper, outlines of these shapes are drawn multiple times in vivid oil pastels onto various layers of paper. To create a larger support, the smaller sections of paper are joined to form a kind of patchwork reminiscent of textiles or panoramic maps. The “puzzle” is then disassembled and covered with a dense layer of tempera paint. Each sheet is then razor-scraped, sanded and finally coated with acrylic-based ink before being rinsed, dried and reassembled. Joseph’s method of utilizing both constructive and destructive techniques masterfully mimics the course of humanity’s collective history.
Joseph lives and works in New York City. He received his BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 and has received awards and honors such as the Basil H. Alkazzi Award, and fellowships in painting from Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. He has been a visiting artist/lecturer at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth and the Rhode Island School of Design where he also taught drawing. His work can be found in museums nationally and abroad including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, Missouri; and Guilin Art Museum, China. Joseph’s work has been the subject of recent solo exhibitions at Lee Eugean Gallery in Seoul, South Korea (2017), Sears Peyton Gallery in New York (2016) and McClain Gallery in Houston (2015). Joseph’s sculptural work was included in McClain Gallery’s 2018 exhibition re:construction.