The escapist allure of immersive environments drives my work, orienting the viewer in a place of comfort and curiosity. The vibrant colors, reductive imagery, and illustrated movements within the “Flow Chart” series of installations are deceptively simple, derivative of early video games, pinball machines, mass transit maps, and schematic diagrams. Within this framework, one soon begins to uncover the world’s underpinnings: a rules-based system of sculptural parameters, compositional logic, and spatial relationships.
The materials in the work and the imagery conjured with them are somewhat of a paradoxical anachronism. The creative process is entirely analog and object- based, but the finished work requires a particular knowledge of early digital culture on the part of the viewer. This relationship between subject and methodology strikes me most during the installation process. After arriving in a new space, every element is unboxed and unwrapped, then laid flat on the ground in groups. Innumerable narrative variations can be constructed from this limited system, or “kit” of elements.
Essentially, everything in my “kit” is either a bubble or something modeled after that shape. The slip-cast porcelain bubbles are finished to remove overt traces of the hand, leaving an ambiguous, sterile, and modular impression. Located independently of any particular context, there is no sense of scale or purpose; a bubble can be molecular or planetary. The convex language of the bubble transfers to everything in flux, whether it’s the sculptural foam forms in three-dimensional space or the outlines of the impossibly flat vinyl colors traversing the walls and floor. Clouds, mountains, waterfalls, wind currents, rays of light, and the growth of vegetation all fall within the same values dictated by this endlessly insistent, possibly authoritarian, repetition. The reductive simplicity of these environments is at once comforting and cloying, sincere and cynical.
— Joe Page
Born in Northbrook, IL, Joe Page received his MFA from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University in 2008 and his BA from Knox College in 2003. He is an Assistant Professor and Area Head of Ceramics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.