Lately I’ve been fascinated by the concept of reuse. When an artist makes a work that sits around for months or years, perhaps in the studio, perhaps unsold, or even unfinished–what becomes of it? Every artist is unique in this way, of course, but often it’s only much later that the true intention of a work reveals itself and it can be completed or repurposed. That’s what interests me about Joe Gegan’s paintings: a mix of the old and the new and a flurry of collage of expressionist painting technique.
Gegan’s recent work combines elements of his own previous works as well as art pieces he has been given by others. Incorporating them into new compositions adds life to works that hadn’t found a place before. His palette is cheerful with an underlying darkness brought out in the occasional aggressively impastoed grey or black. While most of the paintings appear nonrepresentational, many include figural imagery that recall life drawing studies in their gestural outlining and shapes. Additionally, hidden faces reveal themselves with further study, a little surprise which adds a stroke of self-awareness every time one is spotted. Accustomed to looking anonymously at a work of art, it is delightfully jarring to find that it is looking back.
Originally from Santa Cruz, CA, Gegan received his MFA in Painting from Boston University in 2013. More examples of his work can be found at joegegan.com.