Ruins of Rationality


Joshua Hogan’s abstract paintings are empowered passions; they yield light with their heat, revelation with their warmth, and insight with their inspiration. Using emotion as the key to his paintings, Joshua links intuitive vision and felt meaning into imagination. Joshua’s paintings do not reduce to mere figures of speech or decorative images. They do not suffer the mediation of literal worlds, logical ideas, or absolute knowledge. Through metaphor, Joshua’s paintings find their power on the ruins of rationality. The power of the metaphor allows him to imagine abstract concepts in concrete terms.


Through deliberate organic shape, Joshua aims to arouse his inner suggestion. By standing between his canvas surface and his choice of color, the instances in which shape appears seeks to deliver a divine message inherent to the painting. Joshua’s use of color is the ladder upon which his shapes stand. His palette defines the tendencies of his shapes; it describes the their character.


At times, his often strict use of earthen toned sienna fills the canvas' surface. Heavy in parts, standing upon a textured surface or worn thin in others, the victim of readjustment, the sienna's rest disinclined from movement. The purpose of which is to caress his use of red. The intermingling of the two create an indescribable inner beauty that resembles the feeling of gentle triumph when the red is light and warm or the thunder of determination when the red is dark and hot.


In intervals come the canvases that push and pull the viewer. When the canvas' surface is warm yellow, the viewer is pulled into the painting. Also an earthly color, Joshua’s use of yellow is unrestricted. Shapes is further emphasized with the application of gold leaf which intensifies his application of yellow and suggests to the viewer a feeling like the first breath of life ”bursting forth aimlessly in every direction.” When the canvas' surface is blue, the viewer is pushed from the painting to an unearthly state. Like the moonflower folding in upon itself during light, Joshua’s use of blue conveys the confidence of red without being somber. Trace shapes created with the use of red sometimes appear on Joshua’s yellow or blue surfaces, as do strokes of white. The coexistence of the two forces the viewer to acknowledge polarities. The white brush strokes dance across the canvas' surface as clean and pure as snow, but they conceal the life that lies beneath. The slight touch of red flutters between an aura of confidence and the threat of approaching danger.


As Kandinsky described in his essay On Understanding Art, “there are two kinds of people; those who content themselves with the inward experience of phenomena; and those who seek to define this inner experience.” By creating symbolic shapes that are void representational origins, Joshua seeks to define his personal inner experience through the act of abstract painting. And through the act of painting, the paintings become the language of his soul.

All Rights Reserved © Joshua Hogan, 2013