“In storytelling, matter is neither created nor destroyed. It is only infinitely reorganized.”
MIYAKO YOSHINAGA is pleased to present (decrypted) micro-myths, a solo exhibition of installation, drawing, and mixed media works by New York-based artist Joseph Burwell, from June 20 to July 27, 2019. This is Burwell’s third solo exhibition at the gallery. The opening reception will be held Thursday, June 20, 6-8PM. Gallery hours are from Tuesday through Saturday 11AM-6PM.
Joseph Burwell’s multi-faceted presentations combine precise architectural elements with two-dimensional renderings, signs, and objects, displayed throughout the fragmented space in unconventional ways. There is no single ideal vantage point, but rather, we gain clues to the undercurrents of the work by circling its sculptural elements or peering through cut-outs that frame an opposite setting. The artist’s background in architecture echoes in his dexterous use of industrial materials and sharply rendered interiors, and while the work proposes settings that could be inhabited, those settings are also seemingly illogical, populated by objects that take the place of human characters.
In this day, the sheer volume of information at our fingertips has triggered an endless need to know, to investigate, and to share our findings. In this obsessive consumption of information, the authority of our own knowledge can be undermined as our attention is pulled in scattered directions. In the midst of this blurring of fact and fantasy, “we see a regression back to the authority of storytelling – a desire for meaning instead of facts, but with a new cognizance that meaning is constructed, not prescribed.”
Perhaps the role of the narrative, however fabricated or fictional, has always been to give meaning to that which escapes logic. Burwell’s process uses material exploration to propose myths, often repurposing existing narratives into “new unauthorized forms of storytelling” while building out physical incarnations of the digital experiences that are so pervasive in our current lives.
“It’s easy to let the digital stream wash over you; easy to get addicted; easy too, to drown in it. What takes imagination is to do what Burwell has done: lay down a few stepping stones, slippery though they may be, across the current.” -Glenn Adamson, curator and writer
Born in Iceland in 1970 and raised in southwestern Virginia, Joseph Burwell lives and works in the Bronx, New York. After beginning his studies in Architecture at Savannah College of Art and Design, Burwell changed pursuits and received his Bachelor’s Degree in Studio Arts from the College of Charleston in South Carolina in 1993. He obtained an MFA in Sculpture from Tulane University in 1999 and recently earned an MFA in Painting from Hunter College in 2019. In 2011, Joseph was a NYFA fellow in Drawing/ Printmaking/Book Arts. He has participated in residencies throughout the US and has taught at Tulane University, Loyola University, Country Day Creative Arts, New Orleans School of GlassWorks & Printmaking Studio, and Penland School of Crafts. He has shown his work in Switzerland, Finland, Norway, Ireland, Egypt, Canada, South Korea, and New York, including solo exhibitions at Miyako Yoshinaga Gallery in 2009 and 2013.