Piece on the art of Daniel Joseph, appeared in print at his show at Buia gallery, July 2006
Walk through our noisily littered, advertised Taradise, and you are uploaded with information whether you like it or not:
Kissel’s Killer Nail Galore Dollar Egg Roll
Silent Hills Have Eye Repair
Siamese Outlet Scream Here there’s Beer!
We have become so accustomed to our loud landfill lives. We are constantly seduced in our a fat, overripe forest of plastic fruit refrigerator magnets and dangling donuts. All we are encouraged to do is to have big American Idol dreams, clutch onto Oprah’s suitpant cuffs, vote, and eat our antibiotic chicken. And we know it, so we try to get really spiritual and seek healing and wellness. Clutching wheelie luggage and listening to On-The_Go mixes, we run to yogic spare spaces that have rose-tinged bulbs, fig candles and soft Enya vibrations. We retreat there and try to erase the day. We sit and stare and don’t touch anyone and are told and that our desires and deep sadness are not our true selves, then we leave and walk into the lurid Jessica Alba light and those desires and sadnesses are coaxed out of us again and we are made to feel really dumb for wanting anything for free.
In and out, away and back into the cacophony, binging and purging in a perpetual gorge and puke cycle. We are so abused by our late-stage consumer age.
I don’t think Mr. Joseph believes in either of those torturous extremes. Instead of stripping things bare or offering you more trashy shellacked teardrops, he would rather dive into the mess and use it. His shredded, beautiful collages are made out of layers and layers and drizzled with symbols. He piles things on and leaves heavy footprints. Like you, he is grossed out by gansevoort furniture showroom lifestyles. He feels dumb when he breathes in expensive air. Instead of trying to find that refined skybox, he wants us to scream and find to each other here, in the clammy, trashy atmosphere, slapped around by all the tatters and chatter.
Somewhere down here, deep in the mess, are fresh moments, orgasms, friendship and the lurching laugh-cry you used to get when you lay on the front lawn and looked at the sky. These pieces drag you through all our crud; pulled along by a loving hand that won’t let go. Here are Daniel Joseph’s bouys – swim to one, grab on and signal to someone else that you are in love or want a hand job or both.