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Joe Waks is a painter and printmaker who resides in beautiful Bayonne, New Jersey. He is also an attorney who for 20 years worked at the highest levels of local, state and federal government in his beloved Garden State.

Joe Waks recently wrapped up a solo exhibition of new paintings in at Newark’s Index Ar… Read More
Joe Waks is a painter and printmaker who resides in beautiful Bayonne, New Jersey. He is also an attorney who for 20 years worked at the highest levels of local, state and federal government in his beloved Garden State.

Joe Waks recently wrapped up a solo exhibition of new paintings in at Newark’s Index Art Center and a well-received three-person show, “Power Pop Trio,” at LITM in Jersey City with artists Kayt Hester and Robert Piersanti. Last year, Waks had a solo show of his paintings and prints at Asbury Park’s Palette Gallery and in 2015, Waks was a visiting artist at the Experimental Printmaking Institute, Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania and completed a large-scale outdoor mural in the Bergen-Lafayette section of Jersey City. He was a 2012 Fellow at the Printmaking Center of New Jersey in Branchburg and a 2008 New Jersey Print and Paper Fellow at the Brodsky Center for Innovative Editions at Rutgers University, New Brunswick.

Waks has had numerous solo and group shows at galleries in New Jersey, New York, Miami and Philadelphia. He made his New York City solo debut at R. Jampol Project(s) in May, 2013. His works are in private collections in New York City, Los Angeles and in many other locations in the United States and Canada. Waks is also in the permanent collections of the Jersey City Museum, Hudson County Community College and Ogilvy CommonHealth Worldwide, part of one of the world’s largest public relations agencies, acquired nine of his paintings for its renowned collection.

Through his work, Joe Waks seeks to expound on the central tenet of playwright Martin Esslin, whose writings focused on the meaninglessness and incongruity of life. The paintings “recontextualize” the icons and emblems common amongst disparate human civilizations by utilizing paint, text, advertising imagery and events plucked straight from the newspaper. Consumption and the ubiquity of consumer culture are at the heart of these works, but there is a pervasive ambivalence that lies within. Waks seeks seek to temper reality - America’s faded grandeur and current status as a junkie desperately seeking a fix of cheap Chinese-made sneakers and flat screen televisions - with a heapin’ helpin’ of humor, a super-sized serving of irony and a couple of squirts of hope.

Like the themes presented in these paintings, the manner in which Waks produced them presents a paradox. The ideas behind the works are borne of the mundane detritus of workaday existence and at first glance look like they were printed using a mechanized process. Nevertheless, each work consists of thousands of tiny, painstakingly applied brushstrokes that reveal undulating nooks and crannies seemingly made not of fine oil color but of viscous black ooze; the kind of material shipped by barge to be dumped in some far away land, not used to produce works of art.
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