Joseph Hubbard

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 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

Portrait of Artist ca: 1987
By Alan Dayton
Collection McIntosh Gallery; London, Canada

"Hubbard's 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..."
Ben Benedict; Scene Magazine

"(Hubbards work) an eye's feast of irony and dichotomies; ...forcing
the viewer to think critically and act morally."

Kathy Rumleski; London Free Press; "Weapons of Mass Delusion"

"Hubbard... 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.

Whether through the media he uses or the compositions he creates, his work often deals notions of restrictions, of not being bound (by, assumptions or limitations). He will often purposely distort proportions or create unlikely pairings in order to emphasize the incongruity or absurdity of a particular expectation. Elements that are seemingly at odds with each other, ie modernity and obsolescence, are integrated together with a skilful aesthetic fluidity within the same work. The viewer is enticed and drawn towards the work by its gracefulness and sometimes seductive aspects. Yet the metaphoric content, in contrast, challenges the viewer, creating a visual experience of discomfort and tension. And in doing so hopefully incites one to question the values and mechanizations of the contemporary world that has been created... the mark of genius."

(from Joseph Hubbard, 25 Years of Provocative Questions)
Virginia Eichhorn; Curator; Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery, 2007

"Hubbard 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."
Gil McElroy; independent curator

"Gleefully iconoclastic.. ..few have as successfully proved to be an artistic moral conscience for their times...." "innovative in approach..and with a restless imagination.."
Lawrence Sabbath; Montreal Gazette

"Hubbard 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...."
Pierre Fortin; Money/Function/Time/Form; from exhibition catalogue

"Joseph Hubbard's work is the surprise.... is urbane, witty, irreverent....and makes wry insights with showmanship flare."
Gloria Hickey; Fusion Magazine.

"Hubbard's 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."
Christopher Hume; Toronto Star

"In 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."
Ian Trowell; London Free Press.

"Joseph 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"
Pierre Fortin; London Free Press

"grand and prosaic..."
John Bentley Mays; (in reviewing the giant ceramic collander Glut; about conspicuous consumption ) for the Toronto Globe and Mail.

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.