Joe Neill

"Drawings, something old, something new"

JoeNeill-RedUtopia-Dessin encre de chine sur papier 120x115 cm
"RedUtopia", 2015, red india ink on paper, 120 x 115 cm

6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007 Paris

22 May - 1 September 2024

The American University of Paris presents the exhibition “Drawings, something old, something new” by Joe Neill from May 22 to September 1, 2024.
An opening reception in the presence of the artist will be held on May 22 at 6pm in the University’s gallery at 6 rue du Colonel Combes, 75007 Paris.


My work treats space as if it is real, but it is in fact artificial. An imaginary space and an imaginary world invented by me to exist along with the real, a parallel world so to speak.

In my most recent work, much of it presented at AUP, I have emphasized the environment that was dominant in my youth. I grew up in a small town in the “rust belt” in the heart of Pennsylvania. The industrial context and the many activities associated with this region formed my first memories and images of the life around me. The factories were the “lifeblood” of the boroughs but were then dismantled and destroyed by the same people who made them a living entity. The trauma of this experience has left its mark on my current work. These drawings are not a representation of that reality but a testimony of their importance to me and to so many others. Like the factories these drawings were created using a computer but only as a tool like a pencil or a brush.

Art is always ambiguous in the sense that it represents things that do not exist. In this way it asks the question whether an invented form, inspired by reality, can be transformed into a poetic form. From these skeletal forms from another age have constructed these chimeric structures that have the look of industrial cathedrals that seem to escape to unknown perspectives.

These works seem architectural, thus providing a kind of portal for the spectator to enter into these strange spaces and to explore these imaginary worlds. Worlds that offer the possibility to expand one’s perspectives and to see life around us with a greater sensitivity.

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