Commentary / Reviews Excerpts
Photo montage: Pat Eynon
"Joseph Hubbard's witty and compelling art practice occupies an ambivalent space between the comic and tragic, banal and real, self-reflection and social awareness. His exhibitions bring together iconic work from his 35-year-long artistic career and highlight his long standing interests in examining the idiosyncratic and sometimes uncomfortable relationships between the artist, society, museums, and consumerism. He explores the influence of those on the process of art-making itself."
Art Gallery of Windsor, Ontario
"The outcome-objective for Hubbard is more than an enhancement of ...gallery spaces in conventional ways (but not to say that those conventions are irrelevant) ‐ it is a visual-perceptual essay on a condition, about seeing, what is visible but you don’t see....... Achieving it will require a "romancing" of the gallery.... "
Ihor Holubizky Senior Curator; McMaster Museum of Art
"Walking into Hubbard's studio... I saw, somewhat to my amazement, a contemporary version of Shelley's unstaged drama Prometheus Unbound. I am happy to report that now in this exhibition ("WMD's and Paranoia"), after one hundred and eighty-five years, it is being staged, which is to say upstaged, for the first time. It is what the nineteenth century called Byronic and the early twentieth century called Dadaist and what now in the twenty-first century is loosely described as deconstructive or post-modern. Hubbard rightly and fully belongs to this latest manifestation of what, in its absence, conducted to Shelley¹s death. Art since Shelley's day has in some measure been concerned with forging a way to live with what killed Shelley, not as a cure or remedy, but as an immunity to a poison it has learned to respect rather than reject.; Psychosis as portrayed by Hubbard is the psychological dimension of entropy.... In some enigmatic way, Hubbard in these sculptures is storing the entropic fragments of contemporary culture... Like revelation itself, Hubbard's sculptures are apocalyptic.... Precariously perched on a satirical ledge, they stand ready to take off into their inevitable fall."
ed: Ross Woodman; Joseph Hubbard: WMD's & Paranoia catalogue
works are intelligent, provocative, and sensual in rich materiality ...the
various recognizable signs and symbols assemble together to inform the
work and bring experience to bear. ... They are exceptionally well made...
beautiful and witty; ... and a pure pleasure to behold .....This is smart
art crafted in the hands of a contemporary master..."
grapples with large issues social and national identities, politics,
questions of cultural value systems and aesthetics, the limitations and
evolution of language his work...tells the viewer not only much
about the society that we are a part of but also how we got to where we
were... His works... often become ciphers titularly one thing but
really, upon closer examination meaning something else. And therein lies
their strength and power they are not obvious but rather reveal
themselves slowly after thoughtful observation and consideration. They
are ...more rich for not being obvious.
insists that we see the political as an adamantly local phenomenon, stubbornly
rooted in the aesthetic processes and artefactual products that concern
us...however much we would prefer them ripped out and thrown away."
iconoclastic.. ..few have as successfully proved to be an artistic moral
conscience for their times...." "innovative in approach..and
with a restless imagination.."
loves mystery and fear...; simultaneously attracts and repels,exposes
and conceals...; takes acid swipes at the socio-economic system...; seduces
the viewer. He uses enigma, amalgams of world events, and poses riddles.
Like the boy who dared call the emperor naked.....and Laurie Anderson,
Hubbard points at artificial image and social values as he poses rebuttals
to our meglomania. His work is curiously anthropomorphic, handsomely crafted,
autonomous, and rich in meaning...."
Hubbard's work is the surprise.... exhibition....it is urbane, witty,
irreverent....and makes wry insights with showmanship flare."
carefully crafted constructions have a lot to say...Apart from his techical
facility, his main tools are black humour and satire.....and can be extremely
clever and deadly... it was an exhibition highlight."
the forefront is ...sculptor Joseph Hubbard... An appealing irreverance
permeates everything he creates. He speaks of irony and whimsy and they
appear in balance consistently in piece after piece. His expression is
distinctive and unmistakable, the mark of artistic virtue."
Hubbard's sculptures exhibit awesome sophistication and devastating wit.
Master of his media, he unleashes an eccentric and prolific spirit that
occillates between the comic and tragic poles of the absurd. He celebrates
the surreal with...dramatic incision and unexpected juxtapositions to
expose the...soft underbelly of our emotions and cuts into our consciousness
with the scalpel of a psychic surgeon"
Joseph Hubbard has been reviewed in the Globe and Mail, Toronto; Toronto Star; Montreal La Presse; Montreal Le Devoir; Montreal Gazette; London Free Press; Ontario Craft; Fusion magazine, Rampike (international literary & arts) and numerous publications. The artist has been interviewed on the CBC FM program, Brave New Waves.