This Autumn Joe Webb takes over Jealous East with his new solo exhibition ‘Dark Matters’. His second solo show at Jealous, this exhibition explores the darker side of Webb’s work through his cross-media of collage, painting and screenprinted editions.
The new body of work featured in 'Dark Matters' tackles many challenging subjects; socio-political issues, capitalism, war, technology and inequality. Using the medium he has become so well known for, Webb’s collages highlight the challenges of the the 21st century, juxtaposing the absurd with the deadly to expose a society of vast contrasts which we have almost become desensitised to. The sugary sweet vintage images he uses of happy families enjoying life, combined against atrocious scenes often with a backdrop of outer space succinctly comments on the world today and beyond into the cosmos.
“I find juxtaposing the everyday earthly issues we face with the inconceivable vastness of the space puts things into perceptive. It's a reminder that maybe we are all a little less significant than we often think we are.”
Using found images sourced from magazines, books and printed ephemera, Webb creates simple but elegant, darkly surreal, dream-like collages. Created without the aid of a computer, the collages are completely hand-made and unique.
His signature style is applied through various mediums; alongside original collages the exhibition will also feature a new silkscreened edition from Jealous Print Studio and an original painting on canvas.
Joe Webb (1976) uses vintage magazines and printed ephemera that he has collected to create simple but elegant hand-made collages. After many years of working on computers as a graphic artist, Joe turned his back on technology and started making ‘analogue’ collages. Since then Joe has published many popular silkscreen prints, sold his work in the Saatchi Gallery and sold work to celebrities and had his work featured on album covers. Webb's work is also an internet sensation with hundreds of thousands of people sharing his images online.
I started making collages as a sort of luddite reaction to working on computers for years . I like the limitations of it...using found imagery and a pair of scissors, there's no googling for material and no Photoshop to resize, adjust or undo. There's an element of serendipity in finding images that work together that can't be replicated in the digital world. I wanted to get back to basics so set myself a simple rule of working from just two images, it's interesting to find what narratives appear when two conflicting ideas are juxtaposed. Some of the ideas reflect on on the state of world today, like a 1950's idea of the future that went wrong...while others are more optimistic and surreal.
Joe navigates a rich landscape with grace and humour. He plays visual elements against each other in a way that puts different eras in dialogue, allowing characters to travel from their 50’s Home Gardening Magazine roots to the far cosmos. He flirts with themes of nostalgia and loss but ultimately composes light-hearted images that are in dialogue with today’s sampling culture, collapsing and hacking together sources from across the universe in fun and rudely jacked up colour schemes.
(Wangechi Mutu, internationally acclaimed artist.)