Meet Joe Black and His Pixelated Portraits
Ellen Yoshi Tani
‘Echo’ and ‘Refraction’ play with the interaction of object, colour and shape. Drawing upon Japanese geometric patterns and the ideas of Op Art, this is an exploration of the perceptual experience. The flowers in the square piece are carefully placed within the confines of the pattern; the round acrylic rods in the circle piece echo the overall shape. The interaction of the colour relationships and the rigidity of the pattern can create an illusion of movement, as the retina
holds the after image whilst at the same time viewing the image on the wall. The tension between the overlaid foreground and background planes, emphasised by the reflected light, challenges how depth is seen.
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