Ardent Heart


Joshua Hogan’s body of work, “Ardent Heart”, visually describe his spiritual, moral, psychological, and social growth as an abstract painter. Like the James Joyce novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Joshua’s paintings explore origin, authority, and the relationship between him and his family, artistic peers, and society. Armed with a fascination of the physical world and the constant struggle to determine what it is to be artistically tempered, Joshua’s paintings depict the many layers of huge conflicts. Without fear of accidental marks or unexpected brush strokes, Joshua paints to escape from both the artistic and social definition of modernism toward something wholly “other”. This process, opposite the case of today’s society where essential details about environment, technology, and politics are hidden beneath the scene, attempts to mature the stigmatized concept of self in relation.


The process by which Joshua paints is a rebellion from authority. It is the attempt to capture the immutable intrinsic qualities of feeling. In a stream of consciousness Joshua allows spontaneity, irrationality, and freedom to manifest a result that mimics his mood and mind. Working within a balance of isolated raw color and a plane of sienna depth, Joshua also uses accents of texture and the interaction of random line in his paintings. Oil paints, pastels, and charcoal allow him the flexibility of change, a succession of adding and taking away. The canvas texture is also an important element to the painting as it is often sanded down to give the artwork softness or emphasized with black line to give the artwork force. Joshua’s style can be classified as “l’art informel” when the process is purely an escape from the traditional definition of art. Joshua’s paintings in this style emphasize the spontaneous act of painting, where the process is more important than the result. His style can also be described as “lyrical abstraction.” These paintings reflect an overall Gestalt of consistent surface tension, the hiding or removing of brush strokes, and the avoidance of a related composition. In either case, Joshua’s intent rests on process, repetition and the all over sensibility that results from his emotional and physical engagement to the act of painting.


From the traditional definitions of what it is to have and maintain a family; the choice between the love of another or the love of art; the inequities that often led to the doubt of religion and faith; to the contempt that resides for people too boring and comfortable to be affected by art, it remains the pull of intangible phantoms that challenge Joshua’s ambition to be an artist. Yet, in the process of painting he is saved, able to “meet in the real world the unsubstantial image which his soul so constantly beholds.”

All Rights Reserved © Joshua Hogan, 2013