"I make abstract paintings, sculpture and works on paper as arenas for cultural symbols to interact across historical and geographical boundaries. From sources such as books, auction catalogs and online photographs, I reappropriate images of objects that embody what I refer to as 'archetypal charge:' energy infused in them that reflects the beliefs and values of their makers while also evoking universal underpinnings and interconnections. I transcribe and mingle outlines or silhouettes of these found sources and submit them to techniques involving chance and deconstruction to erode dogmatic associations. My techniques are a symbolically ritualistic reminder of the inevitability of cultural entropy, yielding unexpected relationships and new hybrids, and leading me to an almost therapeutic acceptance of cycles of loss and reclamation. As a visceral investigation of my own evolving relationships with these symbols, my work reflects on how beliefs filter perception and affect how society compiles collective knowledge.

"Since much of the imagery in my work is of cultural objects that have come into purview because of societal friction points, conflict, and outright plunder, I look for ways to open discussion around issues of cultural appropriation, authorship, and visual sovereignty. By hybridizing imagery from cultures that were often destroyed or corrupted through contact, I aim to address a paradox – I endeavor towards universality while acknowledging the complexities of cultural exchange. The appropriated sources provide associative triggers and points of reorientation as they invoke dichotomies, interdependencies, and intrigue beyond the objects themselves. I seek to foster 'subliminal reconciliation' within viewers as they probe and parse the formal conundrums and contextual ambiguities I intertwine."

Bo Joseph, 2024

Bo Joseph was born in 1969 in Berkeley, CA, moving with artistically inclined parents between Oakland, Los Angeles, Paris and San Francisco, where exposure to cultural and ideological diversity laid the groundwork for life as a visual thinker. Since graduating from the Rhode Island School of Design in 1992 with a BFA in Painting, Joseph has received awards and honors such as the Basil H. Alkazzi Award, and fellowships in painting from Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center and the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts. He has been a visiting artist/lecturer at the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth and the Rhode Island School of Design where he also taught drawing. His work can be found in museums nationally and abroad including Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; University of Maine Museum of Art, Bangor; The Springfield Museum of Art, OH; and the Guilin Art Museum, China. Joseph has exhibited in institutions, art fairs and galleries across the US and abroad, including McClain Gallery, Houston, Lee Eugean Gallery, Seoul and Sears-Peyton Gallery, New York. His work has been published and reviewed in several books and periodicals including The New York Times, Art in America and Architectural Digest, and has been a subject on NYCTV and National Public Radio. Bo Joseph lives and works in New York and Brooklyn.