Urban/Organic Extractions


"It is not enough to take steps which may someday lead to a goal; each step must be itself a goal and a step likewise.” - Goethe


Painting is not something that comes easy, but painters are fortunate to have a long history from which they can draw inspiration and answers from - answers that can serve the painter in solving pictorial problems. Truly genuine painters see no problem in drawing on that history. Willem DeKooning once said “I'm an eclectic artist, there seems to be no time element, no period in painting for me.” In this regard, Joshua Hogan differs little from DeKooning, or for that matter any other great painter.


In Joshua's paintings we can see great tradition at work. Although his paintings seem to be totally abstract with no apparent subject matter, a closer more sustained observation will reveal a connection with figurative and landscape painting. Joshua's paintings are full of life and in life there is always the presence of growth and decay. Biomorphic forms tend to emerge out of amorphous space only to wither and retreat back into thin layers of sienna. This retreat is only temporary however because each new painting tends to give rise to a different version of the same form; the forms gain your attention in very small increments. You have to view them with the same sort of tenacity in which Joshua created them. If you are not persistent in your observation, you may miss something very special.


His process also reveals each painting’s individual history - the way in which it was constructed. He begins by building his stretcher - agonizing over the details of the carpentry. Craftsmanship is of the utmost importance to Joshua. He proceeds by stretching the canvas - stapling it to the back of the stretcher. Now comes the part about applying the gesso. This gives him the surface he needs to begin painting. The gesso actually is the start of the painting process - the subtle textures created by the brush strokes will capture thin veils of umber and sienna later on. Joshua has always kept his color quiet. I believe he has armed himself with these few aesthetic options so as to not compromise the purity of his mission- to present his experience honestly. It would be all too easy to fall under the influence of highly saturated color, but that would only serve to mask the truth and integrity of the work. Integrity may be the most important ingredient of all, and I assure you there is no shortage of it on display in the paintings of Joshua Hogan.



Mark Lawton Gualtieri


February, 2006

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