Exhibition | Joe Webb, ‘Lost & Found – a Retrospective’
Named one of the Evening Standard’s most ‘Exciting Young British Artists to Look Out For’, Joe Webb’s collages and silkscreens pack a powerful punch
We are delighted to be hosting Joe Webb’s first ever retrospective, a large-scale solo exhibition showcasing some of his most famous pieces alongside never-before-seen new works.
From the collage that catapulted him into the public eye – Antares & Love II, which won him a solo show at the Saatchi Gallery – through to his most recent print, Stirring Up a Storm, Lost & Found spans Joe’s silkscreens and paintings alongside his smaller-scale, intricately hand-cut collages.
The London-born artist, named one of the Evening Standard’s ‘Exciting Young British Artists to Look Out For’ in 2017, has won an army of high profile fans including Coldplay, whose members cited his work as inspiration for their Grammy Award-nominated Up and Up video. His work has also graced album covers by Janelle Monáe and Tears for Fears.
Lost & Found refers to Joe’s creative process – finding long-lost images and reinventing them as often politically charged artworks – and Joe’s reinvention from the commercial world of work to finding his way as an artist. An art college graduate working in graphic design, he turned to handmade collage as an “analogue escape” from computers.
Posting his works online, the powerful images quickly went viral – many being shared more than 200,000 times. The decision to enter a collage competition at Saatchi Gallery in 2014 was the tipping point: he won, and was asked to stage a solo show, Paper Cuts, at the Chelsea gallery the following year.
Citing Pop Art pioneers Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg and Belgian surrealist René Magritte as inspirations, Webb juxtaposes two or three simple images to create a fresh contemporary narrative.
He says: “I’m always looking for that magic moment of serendipity where images just work, and an idea is expressed through placing two or three pictures together. I try to address social, environmental, political issues that are on my mind or on the news – I’m trying to address things rather than shy away from things.
“I’m looking at how humans have impacted the earth and how we’re damaging and destroying it. For instance my newest piece Stirring Up a Storm has a giant whisk whisking up the earth, causing a storm, and that’s just the beauty of putting two pictures together from completely different sources. [They] work when they’re put together and convey the message of how mankind’s hand is affecting earth on a giant scale.”
Other key works on show include Thirst, which confronts British colonialism in Australia and its devastating effect on the indigenous Aboriginal people, as well as Cloud Eaters, of which Webb says: “As children we can get lost in our imagination; clouds can be candy floss… the trick as an adult is not to lose this inquisitive nature and keep that childish wonder and awe about the world.”
Lost & Found is Joe’s first exhibition with For Arts Sake and we are delighted to now hold his works permanently in stock. The exhibition is free, with most pieces available to buy.
Joe Webb, ‘Lost & Found – A Retrospective of Silkscreens and Collages’, For Arts Sake, free entry, April 27 – May 20, 45 Bond Street, Ealing W5 5AS, Mon-Fri, 10am-5.30pm, Sat 10am-6pm, Sun 12-5pm.
Words: Alexa Baracaia