Hart's work incorporates gestural drawing, traditional applications of paint, and mixed-media assemblage to create off-kilter abstractions that clunk, seep and haze across and through the picture plane. "Monk Tooth" features a suite of new paintings that smear, stack, and wedge disjointed shapes and swaths of color into dynamic compositions, highlighting the artist's enthusiasm for material surprise and formal playfulness. Hart reflects:
Each day that I walk into my studio, my first thought is typically "What the hell am I supposed to do in here again?" I've grown comfortable with this recurring fuzz of unknowing but because of it, I summon a certain amount of theater and performance in order to move forward, directing myself to pick up that stick of graphite or paintbrush and make some moves. It’s not until I'm actually going through the procedural and tactile motions of making something that my efforts begin to feel less fraudulent and more truthful. The picture eventually presents itself and settles in, and I with it. My time is suddenly substantive. The fog burns off.
I thought about different types of thresholds while making these paintings: pictorial vanity, the edges of color, obscuring my drawing, palming a basketball, deliberateness, and paintings as efficient allegories for paradox. I thought about generosity and selfishness and how we need both. I thought about family and this absurd, violent world. I also thought about a childhood friend that named his rotting front tooth "Monk".
Joseph Hart (b. 1976) lives and works in New York. Hart’s paintings and drawings have recently been exhibited at The Gregory Allicar Museum of Art in Colorado, Anat Ebgi in Los Angeles, Susan Inglett Gallery, Journal Gallery and Halsey Mckay Gallery in New York. His work can be found in the public collections of the RISD Museum, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Davis Museum at Wellesley College and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Concurrent with his studio practice, Hart is founder and producer of Deep Color—an oral history project and podcast that features long-form conversations with visual artists.
For additional information, please contact the gallery at [email protected] or 415.550.7483.