Bo Joseph was born in 1969 in Berkeley, CA, moving with artistically inclined parents between Oakland, Los Angeles, Paris and San Francisco, where exposure to cultural and ideological diversity laid the groundwork for life as a visual thinker. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 with a BFA in Painting, Joseph has exhibited in galleries and institutions across the US and abroad, has won several awards and fellowships, has taught and lectured at universities and museums, and is included in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor; The Springfield Museum of Art, OH; and the Guilin Art Museum, China. His work has been published and reviewed in several books and periodicals including the New York Times, Art in America and Architectural Digest, and has been a subject on NYCTV and National Public Radio. Bo Joseph lives and works in New York and Brooklyn.
“My work involves the appropriation and mingling of iconic forms from disparate cultures and historic periods, often as layered silhouettes in a fragmented abstract field. It also involves an intuitive, process-oriented methodology where chance and deconstructive techniques partly determine the final outcome of the work. From myriad printed sources, such as books or auction catalogs, I scavenge images of objects that transcend cultural boundaries without losing their intrinsic charge. I transcribe and layer silhouettes or outlines of these reproductions, abstracting them to further strip away any inherent meaning or point of reference, withdrawing any cultural context. Typically, these referential hybrids evolve within environments of intuitive gestural marking. Whether painting on a fragmentary used drop cloth or a sheet of paper, I regard the painting support as a charged found object, more than just a surface. I incorporate de-constructive, chancy techniques like sanding, masking and rinsing to invoke the anomalous and transient nature of material meaning and to instigate new roles for these archetypal sources. I utilize abstraction as a means of examining how our beliefs and perception charge the experience of “reality,” and affect how we compile collective knowledge. The resulting works are by-products of my exploration and reconciliation of diverse cultures and they assert signs of ideological syncretism and contemporary interdependence.”