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Fragments: A Sneak Peek with Joshua von Uexkull

‘Fragments’ is the next show to grace the walls of the Norman Rea Gallery. It will preview on Monday 13th with poetry recordings, wine and art for sale. In this interview, we hope to gain a little more insight into the work of one of the featured artists, Joshua von Uexkull.

A London-based painter studying Fine Art at the Central Saint Martins, Joshua von Uexkull seeks to apply the fragmented language of abstraction to figurative painting in order to create an image that both emphasises the superficial quality of the work and its experiential subjectivity. He explores the abstract and minimal qualities that he sees in architectural exteriors like glass buildings that resemble giant grids and the geometric shapes and bold colours of traffic signs and road markings. He is interested in the way the source photography fragments these spaces visually, and how the translation into painting can reduce them further into their abstract formal properties such as colour planes, line and mark making.

So Josh, do you think it’s important to experiment artistically outside of your comfort zone?

Yes, because you can reach a dead end if you keep doing the same thing. However, I am more interested in mastering a particular medium, like painting, than going into sculpture or installation for example, at the moment.

What do you think your role is as an artist in today's society role?

I think a lot of people in the art world believe an artist should address sociopolitical issues but I’m not interested in that. I think the best thing an artist can do is to make work that excites and gives people pleasure. One of the ways you can do this in painting is by making the world seem alive and new.



You use colour and form in an interesting way. Who is your favourite artist and why?

My favourite artist is David Hockney, because he is an incredibly diverse artist with an astonishing ability at draftsmanship and one of the most fascinating thinkers alive. His writings on the techniques of the old masters completely changed the way we look at art of the past and what this means for art of the future. He has endlessly found ways to show us the world afresh, and beyond the limited photographic viewpoint.

Where is your favourite place to make art?

I love working outdoors or in front of a model, because then you can focus solely on what you are seeing, but art college is still set up in the pre-impressionist way where all the work is made indoors in the artist’s studio so you tend to make drawings or take photos and work from them. it’s still interesting because you get a translation where the final work becomes more about painting than the original subject, and you can get more involved in the unconscious abstract processes of painting.


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