Press Release

Bo Joseph: A Season of Psychic Noise

October 28 – December 10, 2016

Opening Reception: October 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Sears-Peyton Gallery, New York, NY

Bo Joseph’s fifth solo exhibition at Sears-Peyton Gallery, A Season of Psychic Noise,

plies the lively intersection of diverse cultural forms and symbols, interweaving appropriated imagery in a complex interplay of allusive signs that refuse to resolve into soundbites. Instead, Joseph’s process of layering, stenciling, painting, and subtracting offers a site of profound visual meditation amid the commotion of our current cultural moment.

The show’s title, A Season of Psychic Noise, refers to what the artist calls the “existential pressure” of “an accumulation of thoughts that can become a knot, ‘noise’ that leaves only a small capacity of psychic space within which to function.” Joseph appropriates a language of cultural symbols that resonate beneath such day-to-day “noise,” interweaving them in condensed matrices of abstracted forms.

Joseph excises imagery from ethnographic art and auction catalogues, as well as his own photographs, using them as both stencils and resists, sometimes painting through them, sometimes blocking one form with another, or adding and removing images before highlighting their dimmed edges with vivid outlines. In the new series Virtual Artifacts, Joseph scavenges his own studio material, collaging and drawing on the encrusted stencils themselves to create dense topographies of meaning.

In Continuity in Cryptic Signs (2016), black outlines of tribal masks the artist photographed at a local flea market contain a pale washed ground of gestural impressions. Colorful radiating lines hem the “voided” mask forms, drawing them together like a shared fabric. The mask forms become absences whose origins and quotations are arcane, even as they strike us as familiar.

As Joseph writes, “I am exploring how the charge invested in symbols from disparate cultures endure contextual shifts. And at the same time, I am exploring how we assign meaning to symbols and forms, challenging my own presumptions through rigorous and physically chancy methods of building the image.” Josephs’ works urge us to excavate layers buried beneath blaring rhetoric that can seem absolute, and to look for shared resonances. In the words of John Cage, “Wherever we are, what we hear is mostly noise. When we ignore it, it disturbs us. When we listen to it, we find it fascinating.”

A Season of Psychic Noise is on view October 28 – December 10, 2016 at Sears-Peyton Gallery’s Chelsea location at 210 Eleventh Avenue. There is an evening reception October 28 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Sears-Peyton Gallery is open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. For more information or to request further press images, please contact the gallery at