This work is part of Michael Joo's silver nitrate painting series, which strives to make visible the invisible, allowing viewers to literally see themselves in the work. Specifically, this work belongs to his "caloric paintings" series.
Joo has described this series as "examining waste," as it serves to report measurements of the typical human caloric expenditure during such mundane activities as sleeping or driving, including such ambiguous, conceptual functions as waiting, acquiring, or relinquishing.
“Everything is speculative in a way,” Joo says. “Calories are a measure of energy expenditure without context. So in a way there’s a speculative nature to that anyway. But ultimately my figures come from a base rate of measured human action that’s been recorded.”
This series fits in with Joo's overall practice, which asks the question: Why do we perceive as we perceive? Joo’s non-linear, almost cyclical approach to his practice, together with his combination of scientific language and research, results in work that is a documentation of process. Whether chemically treated, silver-coated or photo-based, Joo’s artwork combines a range of techniques associated with sculpture, painting, photography and printmaking. He continues to blur the boundaries between art and science through his investigation into ontology, epistemology and entropy; creating a cross-disciplinary and multi-dimensional dialogue to engage, question, meditate and explore. By juxtaposing humanity’s various pools of knowledge and culture, Joo addresses the fluid nature of identity itself. It seems as if the artist’s intention is to achieve the unachievable: to make us see an object in real life that is barely conceivable as thought alone.
Artist Biography Michael Joo is a contemporary American-Korean multi-media artist known for taking a scientific approach to creating art. Joo received his MFA from the Yale School of Art, Yale University, New Haven, in 1991, after graduating with a BFA from Washington University, St Louis, 1989. Joo's work has been exhibited at the Arthur M. Sackler Gallery at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C., and in Korea’s Demilitarized Zone, among many other influential institutions. His works are in the permanent collections of the Moderna Museet in Stockholm, The Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, and the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, and many other institutions.