Artist in focus- kooky collage king joe webb
For all the turtle-neck-clad philosophising in the art world, sometimes it just takes a simple piece of art to delight.
Joe Webb’s collages do just that. There is something incredibly fun and visually stimulating about the works, in which (no harm to him) the talent seems to manifest itself primarily in the imagination behind the work as opposed to its practical execution. The resultant collages are Surrealism for the twenty first century cut-and-paste, photoshop-happy generation.
In contrast to a lot of the serious and self-congratulating works released and revered today, the works are something that I, as a twenty-summink year old, could actually imagine owning and loving. Far from an academically stodgy, heroic epic on the theme of existentialist suffering, for example, it is the kind of art work that I imagine I could live with easily in my home- and not be tip-toeing around conscious that it was ‘ART’ with not just a capital A, but screaming font the whole way through.*(note below)*
The Essex based collage maker’s works pivot on the abrupt and unexpected collision between characters and settings from different realms, frequently pivoting on scenes of nineteen fifties’ glamour and domesticity being imposed on contrasting landscapes. Thus we have very British fox hunting scenes interrupted by an unapologetic sombrero toting Mexican in one piece and a farmer taking a casual cruise in his tractor during an apocalypse.
They seem some what reminiscent of 20th century surrealism in its purest form. I dare say no one ever locked up Salvador Dali in a newspaper editing room, with nowt but some PVA glue and a stern demand for some art, but one imagines that if they did, these end products would be something similar.
The dreamlike quality is undeniable. Speaking in an interview with Saatchi Online, Webb said that, were he forced to choose between sleep and food, he would choose “sleep. I like dreaming. Its creative and surreal”. Judging from his collages it’s something he never really wakes up from.
*Having said that, my wages as a barmaid mean that this is purely and firmly in the realm of hypothesis. So in the mean time, I’m contenting myself with printing a few paper copies of the ‘Kissing Margarite (woman pecking the cheek of an invisible man in a bowler hat, on the homepage of the blog)’ and the series of screen sirens with stars (last image in this sequence here), and covering my college wall with them.