I first heard the name Joseph Arthur over 13 years ago, when he was recording for Peter Gabriel’s Real World label (then distributed by Virgin). What I discovered closely in tandem with his music is Joseph’s distinctive, almost primitive Picasso-esque style of abstract drawing, which you could see adorning his album covers and T Shirts.
Although he is not quite a household name, both Arthur’s music and art careers have continued to thrive worldwide and I was lucky to attend the opening of a new exhibit of his artwork last night in Chelsea.
Entitled simply, Solo Exhibition, this collection of vibrant and engagingly abstract portraits are mostly rendered in ink and oil pastel on paper or spray paint on paper. I’ve been following Joe’s art for years and it’s so exciting to see his considerable body of work progress and develop while staying recognizably in his unique style.
Around the gallery you will also see a few guitars and musical instruments (such as a child’s toy drumset) as well as the lower half of a mannequin, all of which Joe has hand painted. It’s almost as if he just can’t stop being creative.
With a little memory jogging, Joseph remembered me from an interview we did at the Virgin Records Offices in 2000 for the release of his critically lauded sophomore album, Come to Where I’m From — a really fun conversation which he admitted he “Think[s] of often,” which was flattering to hear.
Once the gallery started to fill up with fans and admirers, Joseph sat down to play his guitar, accompanied by his trademark recorded loops and effects, which are truly mesmerizing. What a talented guy!
If you enjoy colorful, thought provoking abstract art or are a fan of the spontaneity inherent in the street art movement, you will dig the creative force of Joseph Arthur.
Joseph Arthur’s Solo Exhibition will be on View through April 16th, 2013 at Able Fine Art, Located at 511 West 25th Street, Suite 507, in Chelsea, New York. Gallery Hours are Tuesday – Saturday from 11:00 AM – 6:00 PM.