I hold a funhouse mirror up to American masculinity, warping the conventional notions of stoicism and authority to uncover the hyper-emotionality and fragility underneath. My studio practice incorporates sculpture, painting, drawing, and installation to investigate notions of nostalgia and delusion. I draw from the childhood cartoons of my youth and traditional religious iconography to create distortions of the familiar. I was raised with Calvinist beliefs—that there is no free will to choose between good and evil and that humanity is totally depraved. My work investigates and challenges that ideology through clashing archetypes: cowboys and prophets, revolutionaries and clowns. Through these character studies I seek to uncover hidden truth; peeling back the wallpaper of patriarchal masculinity reveals escapism, mania, suppressed emotion, and self-destruction. With humor and empathy in hand, I scrub away the artifice of American archetypes recording what I find along the way.
Joseph Smolin, born in Birmingham, AL, is a painter and multimedia artist. He has shown work at many galleries, including Tiger Strikes Asteroid and Modal, and has an exhibition forthcoming at the Metropolitan Arts Council. His duo show with Virginia Russo, Invisible Planet, was created for the main gallery at the Greenville Center for Creative Arts. He co-founded and contributes to the nonprofit art magazine Rattlesnake. When he’s not painting, Smolin takes pride in building community as a curator, live painter, and teacher. He currently lives and works in Greenville, SC.
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