Collection: Commonwealth featured artist Joe Chesla
Works of RUST/SALT/GRAPHITE/ENCAUSTIC on paper
Artist Joe Chesla
Intuitive responses to the elemental nature of materials, the environment, and social engagement are central to my artistic investigations. I am drawn to moments found within natural and engineered structures, points that stand out as inherently, mathematically, or compositionally intriguing: surfaces, transitions, beginnings, and endings. These fragments lead me to consider the relationship between the rules of nature, how the built environment responds to those rules, and how we navigate our individual and collective lives.
I draw inspiration from the philosophies of Zen, Tao, and Wabi Sabi, especially ideas of emptiness, silence, and the contemplative mind. The works and writings of Agnes Martin and James Turrell, and the poems of Mary Oliver remind me that simplicity transcends, creating a natural pathway for internal contemplation, revelation, and finding our way.
My influences: steel, concrete, wood, glass, rust, algae, etc. often serve a very utilitarian purpose, to exemplify a biological truth or inherent physical transformation. I find transcendence and spirituality in simple materials and the rules they follow. It is my aim to humanize these materials by amplifying the duality of imposing strength while creating a sense of comfort and longing/touch. When done well, human-made environments translate the organic growth and biomorphic building we see in nature. In these seemingly small artistic moments, where a conceptual thought merges with material expression, I find transcendence and poetry in humble materials.