Creating art my whole life, I have keenly
observed how it has impacted me and any viewers throughout the years.

As a kid rendering something accurately out of thin air, I was seen as a magical wizard with the power to create worlds. Entering adulthood, where elements of suffering and rejection become a part of life for everyone, simple tricks of wizardry were no longer as effective. Except to expose the hidden fractured worlds within us.

In maturity, I perceive my job as an artist to bring form to the unacknowledged within, and use that as part of an array of trying to simply feel good.

From 'Young Art Wizard' to Revealing Fractured Worlds

Suspended between abstraction and figuration, the paintings of Joe Durica allude to the human body, to its contours and textures, its desires and frustrations. Durica summons the body not only (or even primarily) as a pictorial form but also as a material presence or protruberence on the surface of the canvas. In works such as Call Me, 12 Untitleds, and The Intellect of Donald Sutherland, the painted canvas is marked by nipple- or navel-like extrusions. Even as we visually scan the surface of these paintings, we cannot but register their physical disturbances and eccentricities. At such moments, Durica's art itself becomes a weirdly compelling, nearly organic physical presence.

A quite different strain of Durica's work uses graphic imagery to address issues of personal history, desire, and conflict. In paintings and mixed-media pieces such as A Deal Gone Bad and The Attack of Wanting to Be Loved, Parts I and II, Durica combines sexual imagery with emotionally charged texts such as My Father Was Never There For Me, and My Mother Is A Hurt Woman, Hold Me, and Love Me. These works suggest the demands and disappointments of intimacy (whether familial or sexual) and the unpredictable ways our past experience haunts our present reality.

Although he does not always embody his paintings in this literal way, Durica insists on the physicality of his work, whether through the material buildup of paint, the use of rope or chains as a means of suspending the work from the wall, the choice of sheet metal as ground for painting, or the fragmentation of a single work into multiple canvases of contrasting color. Even Durica at his most abstract, as in User Friendly Suprematism, still fashions his paintings into material, indeed almost sculptural, forms. Like the Suprematist movement of the early 20th century Russian Avant-Garde, Durica's paintings compel to us reimagine the relation between our own bodies and the bodies of art.

Richard Meyer
Department of Art History University of Southern California

Joe Durica (b. 1970) is an artist, designer and filmmaker born and raised in Chicago, IL. He currently works and resides in Orange County, CA.

In 2006, Joe also married art, sports and fashion to create
Stick It Wear?!. An apparel brand that renders world class athletic movement and sports stories using refined stick figures onto fine tops. In addition to painting, Joe serves as owner and creative director of the brand.