Joe Bussell is an award-winning painter of startling, vibrant abstracts that defy description. Figures and shapes float and scrape across the canvas in ways that are both playful and mysterious. His work embraces primary colors that can simultaneously blend together and maintain their identity.
He states: “When I was a kid my summer days were spent playing baseball, hunting for fossils, attending music and art camp. My favorite activity during these carefree summers was going to the public library on Saturday and thumbing through the open stacks pulling out everything from art books to zoology. It was a thrill to get them to a table and scan through the contents. This series of new paintings is titled Leafing Through and are based on these childhood memories.”
Enjoy this exhibition through August 21.
Introduce yourself and describe your work and the media/genre you work in.
My name is Joe Bussell, website address: joebussell.com. I'm an abstract painter and sculptor. In 1979 I earned a BFA in painting from Kansas University. From that time to the present I lived in London, on both US coasts and a variety of cities in between. I received 2 MFA’s—one in painting and the other in ceramics from Washington University in St Louis. I taught art at Wash U and Johnson County Community College. My work has been represented and exhibited in the US and Europe over the last 40 years.
Talk about the work on view. What would you like people to know about it?
When I was a kid, my summer days were spent playing baseball, hunting for fossils and attending music and art camp. My favorite activity during these summers was going to the Lawrence Public Library on Saturday and thumbing through the open stacks, pulling out everything from art books to zoological drawings. It was a thrill to get the material to a table and scan through the contents.This series of new paintings is based on these childhood memories.
Describe your creative process. How often are you painting and where is your studio?
Process is my favorite part of making art. These paintings are primarily made by pouring and scraping the medium on and off the canvas. I have kept my studio practice in Rosedale for the last 19 years. I work in the studio every day.
Who are other artists you look to for inspiration? And what about their works do you like?
The artists' works I always look at are Joan Mitchell, Mark Rothko, Howard Hodgkins and Cy Twombly, but not sure I can say they inspire me. I'm inspired by many things though, from contemporary African sculpture, to opera, to a snowy night reflecting stars and a full moon.
Please list 5-10 books, movies and/or music that currently inspire you.
I've been a reader and a movie goer my entire life.Books and films that are a part of my consciousness include, The Cairo Trilogy by Naguib Mahfouz, Paradise by Toni Morrison, Tales of the City by Armistead Maupin and Wind Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. Films include, Boys in the Band, To Kill a Mockingbird, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and The Insect Woman by Shohei Imamura.
I'm currently reading Zora and Langston, The Letters of Sylvia Plath and Foursome, Alfred Steiglitz, Georgia O'Keefe, Paul Strand and Rebecca Salsbury. Very different people but interesting how their creativity match up in many ways.