My work is generated from notions of childhood, memory, Pop culture, consumerism, and Americana. Toys, games, and patterns pervade the images I create and are manifestations of both personal meanings and an aesthetic attraction I have for each object. Each work facilitates relationships between memory and object; how memory blurs over time and how we continually reconstruct and add new segments to each story told. Our memories become enhanced, take on new meaning, and become more dramatic and monumental. My work is an attempt to capture these moments as each one increasingly becomes altered through life experiences. While I wish to evoke a feeling of familiarity to the images portrayed, I purposely obscure the information presented. There may be an exaggeration of form or an awkward pairing of objects in a space, all to ultimately question the nature of memory and expose the visual object as an unstable document.
Printmaking is the language I employ when creating my work. I am enchanted by its tradition, processes, and application within contemporary art. Whether it is the deep embossment of a finely etched copper plate, or the slick, commercial-like appearance of a screenprint, I am provoked by process and technique to realize my aesthetic and conceptual vision. While many of my works are illustrated through traditional printmaking methods, others experiment with alternative art making methods, including digital applications. My studio practice can be quite playful at times, employing methods of fabrication that are closely tied to the act of playing as a child. For example, my westernessentials series takes on a childhood experience by utilizing cap gun paper as a mark-making implement. I layer cap gun paper, metal stencils, and traditional printing paper and proceed to run this arrangement through the printing press. The pressure from the press causes the cap paper to ignite leaving a burned and tattered image on the paper. I then hand-color each image by igniting individual caps on the page by smacking them with a small hammer, resulting in selective scoring and burning to enhance the image.
Many of the prints I create have a tactile quality to themespecially those specifically for portfolio exchanges where I know the viewer will physically handle each print. Each portfolio piece offers an opportunity to produce work that generates a more complex sensory experience. The prints may be burned, shot at, flocked, or folded. A memory can certainly be triggered visually, but the addition of touch and/or smell can further enhance the viewing experience. Beyond embellishing the prints with a tactile sensibility, I also include sculptural, interactive, and installation elements. The combination of media helps to facilitate interaction with the viewer and construct a more inclusive environment in which to engage the work.
Through my work I continue to reconstruct, distort, reveal and obscure memory. As we move through time our perception and relationship to objects evolve and take on new meaning. My work asks viewers to visually participate in the act of remembering, to discover personal connections to the images presented, and to consider the malleability of their own memories.
Joseph DUva Jr. was born in Ossining, New York in 1974. In the mid-1970s his family moved to New Port Richey, Florida to pursue a small business venture. New York was always considered homethey would spend the school year in New Port Richey and each summer in Ossining. This city holds much importance for Joseph, as it is where his grandparents settled after immigrating from Sassinoro, Benevento, Italy in the 1930s. Through the years, more extended family made Ossining their home, and the two towns have been recognized as sister cities. During his childhood, Joseph would excel in art, mathematics, and sports (particularly soccer and skateboarding). In 1996, Joseph received his Bachelors degree, from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. From there he attended the Tamarind Institute, where he completed the Professional Printer Training Program in 1997. He received his Master of Fine Arts degree in Printmaking from the University of Iowa in 2000. He has held full-time faculty positions at Bowling Green State University, Lawrence University, the University of Southern Indiana, and Youngstown State University. DUvas work has been exhibited nationally and internationally within solo, juried, and invitational group exhibitions.