Joseph Staples: Economy of Image
Curated by Wil Aballe
Opening reception: Friday, January 10th, 7 - 9pm
Exhibition: January 10th - February 1st, 2014
Since the early 00’s, under the moniker Office Supplies Incorporated, Joseph Staples’ practice has been based in work made for the street. He began extensive experiments with collages, working with black and white photocopies and screen prints he put up on walls around the city. As Staples worked with the technique, he began to develop a theory of the collage, encapsulated by a tight set of parameters. The most persistent and key idea was simply to use a single image to build many.
In this new body of work, Staples’ focus has changed to where the image has become less important than the line made by cutting. With the image gone, the trace remains of process are what have become significant. The space between two images collaged together is only as wide as the line that divides them. That line is infinitely small; one could zoom in on it forever and always still see white on one side and black on the other. By eliminating the image we are able to focus on what that line does and the subtle shifts between on/off or negative/positive and the tension between the two resting on that line. This is explored as a series of light boxes and rubbings.
After the line comes form. In this version of the Falun series, the William S. Burrough's literary "cut ups" style of poetry is applied to image. The single image is freed of recognizability through the printing process and freed of coherence by the razor blade's dissection. The sections remaining becomes a limited but flexible lexicon of form to allow for experimental compositions. In the way the Dadists in the 20's and Burroughs in the 60's wanted to break up language's structure in new ways to attempt to disrupt cohesion to allow for fresh thinking about poetry, Staples’ attempt is to free himself and the viewer from the way his and other artists’ collage look at juxtaposition and contrast. The large format collages presented will expand on the syntax Staples has created over the last decade.
Joseph Staples has worked in collage, printmaking and public art in Vancouver for the last 12 years. His work focuses on abstraction with a base in photography and representation of the human form. He has shown at the Vancouver Art Gallery, Equinox Gallery, Gallery Fukai and is currently the artist in residence at the Burrard Arts Foundation. This is his third solo exhibition.