Joseph Wardwell

Gallery Affiliations: LaMontagne Gallery, Heskin Contemporary

Region: Northeast

My work addresses how landscape painting and our understanding of landscape has been historically linked to the defining of national identity in the United States. From advocates of Manifest Destiny adopting the great pictures of the Hudson River School to contemporary advertising, landscape and the American brand are inseparable. Where once images of glaciered western mountaintops helped pave the way for man’s physical and ideological dominance over the wildness, now these same images function as painful reminders of how this dominance has run its course. We are currently faced with a cultural history that has to change and a national identity that needs ratifying. By painting text onto the landscapes I can create a juxtaposition of imagery that brings these issues to attention. The texts in the paintings are fragments of lyrics from rock songs. The music that I choose is woven into the cultural history as succinctly as the landscapes underneath. I use the text to subvert the cultural connotations of the landscape imagery and suggest an alternative narrative, history, or meaning.