Artist Spotlight: Joe Karlovec

 

Joe Karlovec was born in Columbus, Ohio in 1986, and is currently living and working in West Palm Beach, Florida. Karlovec has a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art and an MFA from Kent State University. Karlovec has a background in interior architecture. He briefly studied landscape architecture before focusing on art. His interest in these subjects reflects the work he creates, as Karlovec continues to explore the topics.  

 

Karlovec’s work has been exhibited by galleries in South Korea, Italy, Canada, and is represented by galleries in Nashville & Miami. Publications featuring his work include Studio Visit Magazine, CreativPaper Magazine, Art Reveal Magazine, and the International Drawing Annual. 

 

Most recently, his work is featured in an international online exhibition curated by Al-Tiba9 Contemporary Art based in Barcelona, Spain. Professionally, Karlovec has worked various roles in galleries & museums from Ohio to Florida, and designed exhibitions for projects in Iowa, Nevada, and New York. He currently works as Production Manager at Farano Fine Art in West Palm Beach, FL.

 

Karlovec is also a seasoned art handling/exhibit technician. He has worked in galleries and museums throughout Ohio & Florida and designed exhibitions for New York, Nevada, & Iowa. Karlovec’s work is primarily based on landscape urbanism & postmodern architecture. As Karlovec finds, he likes that they are both allusive subjects that are difficult to define. Karvolecs recent works are limited edition jacquard textiles and fabric installations about landscape urbanism and postmodern architecture.

 

Karlovec has been exhibiting his artwork nationwide for about ten years, mostly being paintings & drawings. His work initially focused on drawing and printmaking for years. But it was the passing of Karlovecs best friend in 2015 when he abandoned drawing altogether and began painting voraciously. In his recent textile work, Karlovec began to reconcile the two approaches—merging both landscape and architectural imagery with photo-documentation of his own painting practice. The result is a series of hand-cut jacquard textiles that appear equally as painterly and sculptural as they do photographic, much like the places that inspired them.

 

Karlovec is still fairly new to working with a textile medium. Still, it responds to his interest in landscape & architecture that has persisted in Karlovec’s studio for over a decade. Karlovec’s recent interest in textiles has led him to create jacquard textiles as a way to explore new modes of photo-based modes of abstraction, driven by pushing the limits of photographic abstraction by increasing the scale and complexity of the ongoing textile installation project.

Eviction Notice is his largest and most recent iteration of this project. It is roughly 6.5 x 8.5 feet, consisting of 6 individual limited edition textiles. Each are designed as stand alone objects, but also as modular building blocks for these large-scale sprawling installations.

Karlovec hopes that by using methods of adaptability, his work can undermine the preciousness of the art object while dramatizing the entropy of its own visual abstractions. Doing so has the potential to manifest in ways that establish endless contradictions between image and object, digital and physical, landscape and city, hand-made versus machine-made, and even the philosophical shift from being to becoming. Karlovec wants the viewer to experience some combination of this tension in his work.

Karlovec finds his inspiration from the book,  'Postmodern Geographies: The Reassertion of Space in Critical Social Theory' by Edward Soja. The book is extremely dense, but Karlovec doesn’t do light reading; he feels he could spend a lifetime making artwork about this book, and might just. 

 Karlovec’s work usually comments on social and political issues, such as land management, sustainability, and environmental justice, relevant to the work. He uses his titles as a way to dig deeper into the subject. Some examples, including, Container Homes, New Build, Private Property, Waterfront, and Eviction Notice. The titles help shape the work's ex-situ social context and establish the conceptual lens from which the work can be thoroughly examined.

Karlovec usually begins his process primarily in photography & collage, as he is usually taking pictures of landscapes, buildings, and empty spaces. Photography acting almost like a sketchbook approach for him. From there, Karlovec makes collage combinations, some digital, some physical, and all prototypes for future textiles. Once settled on a design, He sends it out to become an industrially woven jacquard textile. Karlovec cuts the fabric down to size, turning it into the specific shape that suites the work. Karlovec is often working on several at once, conceiving groupings of potentially larger pieces; his is an ongoing evolving process.



Artist Statement: 

I have a background in interior architecture. I also studied landscape architecture before focusing on art. My studio practice stems from this experience. Curiosities around landscape urbanism and environmental justice informs my work. I take photographs constantly, mostly documenting areas from the rustbelt where I grew up to Florida where I now live. The work references both modernist architectural imagery and photo-documentation of my own painting practice. The result is a series of hand-cut jacquard textiles that appear equally as painterly and sculptural as they do photographic, much like the places that inspire them. 

Eviction Notice is my largest and most recent iteration of this project. It is roughly 6.5 x 8.5 feet, and consists of 6 individual textiles. Each are designed as modular building blocks of larger installations, as well as individual stand alone works. By using methods of adaptability, the work is able to undermine the preciousness of the art object while dramatizing the entropy of it's own visual abstractions. In doing so, they manifest in ways that establish endless contradictions between image and object, digital and physical, landscape and city, hand-made versus machine-made, and even the philosophical shift from being to becoming. 

I will be creating a limited edition of 5 for each individual textile I create. This will give me flexibility to generate multiple site-responsive iterations, as well as offer galleries an opportunity to sell each textile individually. I have collage prototypes for dozens of new jacquard designs and countless installation ideas that I will be developing in the months ahead. This is my primary studio focus for 2021.