The subjects of Joseph Yaeger's paintings are tightly bound to the American artist's upbringing and are full of references to American popular culture.
Sourced from screenshots captured across various media – from Olympic competitions to film stills and online newspaper articles – his artworks explore the boundary between sincerity and irony, drama and melodrama, pathos and bathos. Each painting gives a feeling of deja vu, as though distant memories are quickly bubbling to the surface as we look back on our lives.
His latest series, Power Ballads, is on show at V.O Curations in London from 8 September and features works, as the gallery puts it, "that possess a distinctive aura of the mundane". The settings are pretty straightforward: a street, a bathroom, a swimming pool, a nightclub. "A suburban backdrop manifests subjects that are rarely figured in their entirety, snippets of a whole which summon a sense of the quotidian. In this realm everything is felt deeply, expressing it unevenly, uncontrollably: a forehead sweats, a head goes bald, faces bleed, desire overflows and thirst is voraciously quenched – water manifesting across the canvases as a stand-in for sound, music," the gallery adds. "Through a fogged pane of glass, two lovers share a kiss."
One example is Power Ballad itself – sheltered from the outside, we peek into an intimate moment, but can't see too much through the window as it's guarded by raindrops. The painting is typical of Yaeger's style, where he builds intensity through layers of watercolour on gessoed canvas. The gallery adds: "Similar to power ballads, the works come together to summon the sensation of fast-paced and fractured memories coming to light in a moment of subconscious recollection, flowing freely in one's mind. These fractures appear on the gessoed surface of Yaeger's paintings, the craquelure itself a sign of the inevitable passing of time."
Power Ballads by Joseph Yaeger runs from 8 September at V.O Curations in London.