Seconding his exhibit at the Galleria Duemila in 2019 entitled, ‘Vertical and Horizontal Dreams’, Joe Bautista pays homage once again to his architectural musings in ‘Re-Construction’. This time, he toys with the idea of space and form. Flat, acrylic paintings pervaded ‘Vertical and Horizontal Dreams’ but this time, Joe Bau added depth and played with heights through the use of conventional construction objects.
His process starts out with a recognition of form, a visible shape or configuration. In architectural terms, this may refer to construction. In a way, Joe Bau constructs and re-constructs paintings. In adding depth, space is bound to occur. In this case, space may be defined as a three-dimensional extent in which objects manifest and have relative position and direction.
The artist uses industrial materials found in construction sites such as discarded blocks of wood, tiles, pieces of plywood sheets, cement, tiles, nails, bolt and nut, and turns them into a set of relief paintings that mimic a topography of land where structures stand still. In a way, Joe Bau drives down the idea of the physicality of location through his paintings.
For him, his compositions are re-constructions. Re-mades. His concept ideates the perspective of transformation. These pieces take on a whole new remembrance of form.
In Plato's underpinnings, form is the essential nature of a species or thing, especially regarded as an abstract ideal. The rawness of Joe Bau’s materials highlights his brevity to showcase stripped-off and exposed versions of structures. He varnishes and casually paints over them using acrylic, oftentimes working on two or three layers to achieve his desired look. The resulting elements are blocks of color, acrylic washes, and doodle-like elements as painterly gestures.
It is worth noting that Joe Bau, in his early days, won first place in sculpture competitions, thus the inclination to both two-dimensional and three-dimensional use of elements. The advertising background of the artist is evident with the use of magazine cut-outs, a widely-available graphic rendering of images and form.
The artist has a penchant for height, stacking up elements on both orientations. Rigid shapes like squares and rectangles are depicted in different painting techniques. The monochromatic and sometimes neutral colors of the paintings are contrasted with little pops of color such as yellow, orange, and green tucked away in little blocks and corners. These serve as highlights to an otherwise muted composition. At a distance, the same shapes arranged on several orientations hint at pathways and roads, structures that take an individual from point A to point B.