The Child I Never Had, 2010
Acrylic on found triptych
Closed 23,18 x 12,7 cm | 9,12 x 5 in
23,18 x 25,72 cm | 9.13 x 10.13 in
This grueling triptych, amongst the most ambitious of this series, is a full-frontal assault on the fears we all hide from, yet cannot avoid. Against a background of apocalypse, with mushroom clouds and solar eclipse, a young girl´s face screams out at the viewer. She is the child Joe never had, and the look of unbearable fear and horror suspended on her face, depicts her realizing that she will never be born. Joe has often spoken candidly about confronting his own mortality. In the upper section, a deadman´s head festers, a gaping shotgun wound attracting flies. This is a likeness of Joe´s own father, and represents the dead father who will not reproduce. The artist´s famous diatribes about overpopulation, and his own childhood troubles relating to his father, may well have influenced his decision not to have children.
A Toast to Old Cemetery, 2010
Acrylic on found panel
20,64 x 15,56 cm | 8.13 x 6.13 in
This endearing and heartfelt portrait of the character actor, Robert Ryan, as Larry Slade in the movie the Iceman Cometh, is a sentimental tribute to one of Joe´s favorite actors. Ryan was dying of cancer when he took on the role of the Slade. His moving performance, and the dignity with which he confronted his own mortality, deeply affected the artist, who himself has often tried to confront his fear of death. The intensity of this portrait may also lie in Joe´s confession that Robert Ryan has always reminded him of his own father. Ryan also appears in Joe´s earlier painting The Eye of the Cyclops.