Joe Wardwell

Region: Northeast

My paintings integrate landscape, text, musical allusions, and abstraction to investigate myths about “nature” and national identity in the United States. The landscape images that I use inevitably allude to an end or irrevocable change in “nature” as we know it.

The large text fragments I use are lyrics from rock songs, which are taken out of their original context to allow for new interpretations that illustrate an alternative American cultural consciousness. By inserting painted text into the landscapes, I undermine the traditional heroic cultural connotations of the landscape and suggest a different narrative.

Looking at America through the layered lenses of landscape imagery, abstraction, political slogans, and rock lyrics, my paintings invite a more contemplative, nihilistic, foreboding, or oblique reading.