Joseph O’Neill Solo Exhibition

CICA Museum
May 10 – 14, 2017
2017. 5. 10 – 14.

Joseph O’Neill

I was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1965. I have no formal  education in art, but I did study to become a chef. In the process of becoming a chef, I was forced to develop the habit of trying, tasting, and experiencing things in a different way. There is truth in cooking; something can be beautiful on the plate, but it has to be real, balanced, and satisfying to more than the eye. Food is ephemeral, but its impact – if it was thoughtfully conceived – has the potential to long outlast the moment in which it was first experienced.

I have been an active photographer throughout the last decade, but only began exhibiting in 2012.  Because I am self taught, I am never afraid to try different  techniques. My photography has been influenced first by the works of Eugene Atget, and later by Man-Ray. My earlier work in photography was an unplanned documenting of things I had taken for granted as I passed them, but my camera allowed me to capture so that they could be enjoyed again later.

Since deliberately moving toward photography as fine art, I have been experimenting more with architectural abstracts and nude studies.

My work has appeared in numerous group and solo exhibitions around the world, predominately in New York City and Europe. I have  been published in art journals, and art magazines, digitally and in print. I have work on display in the U.S. Embassies in Oman and Latvia, and I am active member of New York City’s oldest artist collective, The Phoenix Gallery.

When I used to see or hear the words BLACK AND WHITE, I assumed that is all I would see. There was little to anticipate in that. But then I began to take black and white photographs, and I realized in my photographs I could capture tones and shades of grays that held warmth, emotion, and depth.

Shooting in black and white allowed me to isolate without the distraction of color composition subtle details of texture, of light, of space. I found that I could focus a viewer of my work into the eyes of a subject, to perhaps allow those viewers to look as differently upon the world in which they lived as I might. I noticed objects and scenes that were obscure before, and made me realize I had been missing large parts of the world around me.

I don’t try to make things more beautiful; I simply don’t accept the limited view of the first look. When I take a photograph, I never know what I will find. But if I’m quiet; if I’m patient; if I let the subject do the talking; I nearly always discover something – a story that wants to be told. I hope that my photographs give voice to the unheard, give grace to the unseen night and day.

My photography illuminates things that the are easily overlooked. It is urban and industrial in tone. Rather than offering a wider view of an entire edifice, I use my lens to look at details, offering a play of reflection, light, and shadow that happens naturally when someone is walking past the same building looking it up and down. My lens attempts to freeze that moment when a viewer first notices something unique but might not have time to stop and take proper note.

My photography exists in, and because of, distinct times and places. It often revolves around New York City. This city is my muse. It captured my soul as a child, and has never let it go. As an artist, I breathe in my context and exhale image. Whether it be a building, person, ornamentation, statue, or bridge. At different times of day or night, time of year, the city has a different look and feel. New York nourishes my creativity, and in return I want to share with the world what I love about it.

Posted in Exhibitions.