JOSHUA VON UEXKULL

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Joshua von Uexkull works with the language of abstract art and digital technology, in order to paint pictures that represent the people and places around him according to his subjective viewpoint, challenging the supposed objectivity of the photography. He is fascinated by how the eye sees the world, by the elusiveness of appearances, and how to more vividly represent visual experience. 

Many of his figurative paintings employ elements of abstract painting such as flat planes of colour and hard edges. This is because he finds the reduced aesthetic of certain Modernist abstract art particularly suited to his urban environment, architecture and fashion. He finds this superficial, graphic and reduced style is more appropriate to our image saturated culture in which new media has caused us to look at the world in a much faster manner.

Currently he is using digital drawing media such as Photoshop and drawing tablets for preliminary studies and compositional sketches that serve as the basis for the final paintings. Tablets allow him to quickly create an impression of a figure in motion and a fleeting light. Photography sees everything at the same time and in a geometric way but von Uexkull is interested in the psychological experience of a figure and how their appearance changes over time. In Four Figures for example, the heavy reduction in form is the result not of deliberate distortion but of the amount of information visible and recordable in the rapid time of a figure walking at a distance.

When these sketches are translated into painting, they become akin to Hard-Edge abstract paintings. With the MDF sculptures, he has broken away from the rectangular frame (and therefore the notion of pictorial space) of the canvas and expanded into the physical space of the viewer. By placing these figures in the viewer’s space one is encouraged to recognise their own tendency to look undiscerningly and taking in only the essential details.