Meet Joe Black and His Pixelated Portraits
Ellen Yoshi Tani
The colour wheel was first invented by Isaac Newton in 1706. When the disk spins the colours blur to form white. This original colour organisation system, which painters still use today, is at the very heart of Joe Black’s work. Black’s systematic exploration of colour is distilled to its essence in this piece, playing with the placement and interaction of hues. Looking to the traditions of Pointillism and Joseph Albers’ extensive investigations in the 1950s, this work is about how the eye perceives and understands colours.
Joe Black’s work is the vanguard of the current Pop Art movement. He describes his works as “revealing the unexpected” as they are viewed both from a distance and up close to make the ordinary extraordinary. Black combines his natural craft skills with a love of materials - many of which are recognizable everyday objects - to create portraits and abstract works. Using a laborious technique of hand painting and altering each tiny object to give gentle lines and shading to his subjects, Black has pioneered an elaborate new form of pixilation that he uses to hide subtle implications within each of his images. This is perhaps best illustrated by his use of 5,500 plastic toy soldiers in his depiction of Robert Capa’s iconic boy soldier piece Made in China (2011).
British, b. 1973