Original painting By Joe Waks
H 18" X W 24"
Oil, watercolor and mixed media on canvas
Waks' seeks to “recontextualize” common icons and emblems by utilizing advertising imagery and text plucked straight from small town and big city newspapers of yesteryear. Consumption and the ubiquity of consumer culture are at the heart of his work, but there is a pervasive ambivalence that lies within. He tempers reality -America's faded grandeur and current status as a junkie desperately seeking a fix of cheap knock off sneakers and disposable flat screen televisions - with a heapin’ helpin’ of humor, a super-sized serving of irony and a couple of squirts of hope here and there. The artist's process starts with collecting newspaper advertisements from the 1950's through the 1970's. He then creates collages using these newspaper images and adheres them to the canvas. Like the themes presented in the paintings, the way in which Waks produces them presents a paradox. The ideas behind the works are borne of the mundane detritus of workaday existence and at first glance look like they were printed using a mechanized process.
Each work consists of thousands of tiny, painstakingly applied brushstrokes that reveal undulating nooks and crannies seemingly made not of fine oil color and wax compound but of viscous black ooze! The kind of material shipped by barge boats to be dumped in some far away land, not used to produce works of art. Waks makes no secret of his process, when he paints, he is more or less “painting by numbers.” He feels that his works demonstrate a test of will as much as it is an artistic process. These new works are fun! Waks is a keen enthusiast of history, but his works encourage us to think and to laugh. He is a collector and archivist, and a commentator on the idealized American life presented in ads for sparkling new suburban tract homes and department store bra sales. Waks presents the values of a fanciful America of yesteryear that existed in fast food and supermarket ads and print exhortations for families to attend church together.
Waks has pushed his boundaries by introducing color in the new series, departing from many years of his working in his monochromatic comfort zone. These works are vibrant and seemingly happy. In his recent public murals, work for PATH, (and on the back of his own house), Waks has utilized polka dots and he again incorporates them in these new paintings. To Waks, polka dots represent the whimsical past. As a young child he became obsessed with them when he saw an old beach house festooned with brightly colored circles.
This is Joe Waks first solo exhibition at Dollhaus II and has been in the FVCK DIZNEY and TTTF V Dollhaus group shows.
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