JOEL HOPLER AND FAMILY
Joel Hopler received his MFA from UNC Chapel Hill and is currently working with the University Maker space, BeAM.
I create paintings that are process-driven collaborations with technology and my family. My work utilizes sampling and synthesizing imagery from a broad cultural lexicon, engaging with new digital technologies, fatherhood and the collaborative concepts intertwined in contemporary remix theory. Concepts of the recombination of materials and ideas are expanded to cultural discourse through Remix theory as my practice examines historical concepts of the mythologized, autonomous artist, alone in his studio, as an archaic ideology. I expand notions and methods of painting by embracing concepts of sampling, mashups, open-source platforms, and energetic compositions integrated with my role of artist-father.
In my work, male figures and horses from art historical paintings and printmaking emerge as vectored distortions of their canonical marks, remixed with 1990’s comic book explosions and iterations of Ninja Turtles. Honoring my role as a father, I invite my four young children to collaborate in the studio, effectively eroding the precept of a lone male painter; simultaneously creating a studio practice supporting and defining a variation personally valuable and dear.
The material presentation of my work supports this domestic role, and subverts the preciousness of the painted objects. Utilizing materials from “Big Box” hardware stores, such as full sheets of 4’ by 8’ boards, latex house paint, and rollers, the paintings are visually and materially “fractured”; with spandex, plastic and wooden shapes playfully mimicking the painted forms and gestures. The pieces are presented in the gallery via stacking, leaning and tilting, at times their rigged hanging devices
exposed in a manner to become dominant formal components pulling the traditional gallery hanging system to the forefront.
In my thesis show, “Are We There Yet?”, I have revealed my studio practice as one that is less concerned with being the originator/creator, but that of a narrator/ coder/hacker. My thesis exhibition juxtaposes art historical references with lowbrow cartoon and comic visual culture; integrated with a frenzy of intimately painted marks from my children. My own hand articulates the compositions, using painterly dexterity to create and complicate the visual space within the paintings, and materiality of the objects. Fractured narratives within the works are as much a eulogy to the canon as they are a satirical and thoughtful examination of the mobility of discourse.