Joe Esposito

Picasso mentioned a paradigm which the majority of artists confront at some point along their journey: “When I was fifteen I knew how to draw like Rafael, but I needed a lifetime to learn how to draw like a child.”

Joe Esposito looks at reality with an unprecedented clarity and authenticity. His world seems simplified to us, just as it would to a child’s innocent and purifying glance. The shapes are reduced to the simplest and most elementary, they are limited solemnly to the essential, and there is no place for distracting details, textures, not even differences regarding the shades or the chiaroscuro along a surface. Simplicity becomes the most beautiful; without room for superficiality, any other detail would prevent it from shinning so brightly. Everything shines and radiates evenly. There is something pure and fresh in his artwork, like it had just been painted and the paint refuses to dry.

As Leonardo da Vinci would say, simplicityis the ultimate degree of sophistication….

There is a contagious energy in his colors, as if he was painting with fluorescent paint or even with a neon light. The colors can only be those and not others. The use of color is as sagacious as it is seductive. 

The most incredible thing is that with so many striking colors one would expect them to cause a raucous noise while screaming with the same intensity but, as if by magic, they are like musical notes that are never out of tune. We tend to privilege one color over the other but, interestingly enough, when taking a second glance, perhaps those that lie in the background are now the ones singing the loudest. This allows us to see the whole painting alternately without any difficulty, whilst appreciating the artwork in an even and balanced way. For me, it’s a mystery, an extremely hard equation on how one can use so many bold colors, juxtaposed in an extreme contrast and with such an intense saturation, whilst being able to achieve a final result that is as calm as it is balanced or even soothing.

Light is a characteristic found in life and in Joe’s paintings. It has an absorbing calmness, a sobriety, a certain stroke that is used with restraint and moderation, in a harmonious style that encompasses and materializes everything in a unifying contour. A line that gives it a frame which at times appears static and other times provide a rhythmic movement that trespasses all shapes and covers the canvas in a frenetic vibration. The composition is dissected in a juxtaposition of successive planes, which claim their very own precise place within the painting.

Joe Esposito treats his painting with loyalty, his spontaneity is evident in each brilliant stroke and in it you can feel frankness and sincerity. It’s an intelligible world, very unique and characteristic, his straightforward style is unmistakable, sometimes Naïf, and at times similar to Pop Art, in some moments, it can even take us back to variations of Impressionism. 

The figures are faceless but they do have a soul. It is precisely there where one feels that the characterization goes farther than ever, in its sobriety, in its humbleness concerning the means or the modesty regarding the resources used.

It is through the absence of information, the frugality, and his stroke’s economy that each line is able to confess more than ever, going directly to its essence and its core, saying what would normally take many lines to say. Despite the parsimony, we clearly see the expressions of the characters, even without having their features drawn, the gestures and the semblance are stressed and are highly expressive, one feels that they are effectively depicted and that nothing is missing, anything else would be superfluous, frivolous, distractive and excessive. 

It is impressive how much one can say with so little.  

Pedro Boaventura



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