Joel Douek


About the artist:

Where one person might see an imperfection, a fault, another sees beauty. Yet for nature, beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. It is a mysterious and pervasive quality that expresses its own internal striving for survival and betterment, whether observed by humans or not. A piece of bark, a fractal pattern in the rusting of iron. It doesn't need us. It already has a purpose. But when we find its beauty we can also find and pull on that thread in ourselves to see where it leads. We can be observers, critical and in judgement, or we can remember our connection to the forms and articulations of the natural world. We can feel our connection to nature, because it gives us life every day. Plants, animals, trees, bark, exacting functions refined to a point of extreme elegance by millions of years of attrition and evolution. We can participate. We can rejoin.

In much of my work I bring together wondrous natural woods and metals. They appear to contrast starkly: the metal: brutally hard, melted and molded by powerful man-made machines. But metal is still natural. Its tendency to rust, an expression of its own vulnerability but also the way it blooms into color as rich as a flower. The ever-present forces of entropy. Always giving. Always taking. Always singing the eternal song of Change. Once these colors show themselves, either through time or a gentle nudge, I often apply gold as a symbol of enduring permanence in all this entropic chaos. A constant, to radiate and illuminate. 

I create this art so you might see yourself reflected in the beauty, the change and the permanence that are the essence of nature. To remind us that we are part of it, playing with it, destroying it then nurturing it back to life. As many contradictions as a species can bear. Where our role as people is acutely undefined, even as we tell our story.