This is Prizmism: Joseph Park

Joseph Park, Vanessa, 2009, Oil on board, 24 x 18 inches. Courtesy the artist.

Seattle artist Joe Park recently walked me through his studio before he shipped out his latest show to Rena Bransten Gallery in San Francisco. The title, This is Prizmism, is a sly nod to the art world's predilection to create more and more schools of -isms. Originally inspired by a J.G. Ballard story, Park has been developing his prizmism style for the past couple of years. Hallmarks are fractal, geometric explosions of light which create a crystalline cubism.  —Joey Veltkamp, Seattle contributor

Joseph Park. Above: Princess, 2011, Oil on panel, 20 x 24 inches. Bottom: Prizmacolor easel, 2011, dimensions variable.

Typically, Park develops a show piece-by-piece, but from the beginning he approached this show differently. Before he could even start making the work, he had to make the objects that would allow him to create the paintings. The first component was a huge self-adjusting, custom-made easel fabricated by a septuagenarian named Chuck. As Joe described it, this was pure studio fetishism. He wanted a bigger, tricked-out easel, almost as if publicly declaring that anything created on it would be bigger and better than anything he has made before. Joe has also introduced a series of angular busts that lets viewers get a better understanding of his prismizm.

Joseph Park. Above: Kimberly, 2009, Oil on board, 24 x 18 inches. Middle: Quinby, 2010, oil on board, 24 x 18 inches. Bottom: z, 2011, ceramic and epoxy. Images courtesy the artist.

I've always appreciated the unabashed narrative element present in Joe's paintings. His painting The Wizard is a dramatic re-imagining of Las Meninas by Velázquez, with an arc of electricity springing from the wizard's paintbrush reinforcing the idea of painter as story-teller. It's the perfect piece to explore the realm between reality and fiction.

Joseph Park, Transporter, 2011, oil on panel, 43 x 52 inches. Courtesy the artist.

"Joseph Park: This is Prizmism" will be on view at Rena Bransten Gallery, San Francisco, July 21 - August 20.

Joey Veltkamp is an artist/writer living in Seattle where he runs the local art blog, best of.

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