.
JOSEPH HAVEL
at Talley Dunn Gallery
through February 25th.
by Todd Camplin
.
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Joseph Havel made me fully conscious of real nothingness. Lucky this was more in the word
and knowledge sense, than my extinguishing to Nirvana. Talley Dunn Gallery displays a
symphonic like mix of Havel’s conceptual musings, with abstract paintings, and textile
related sculptures.

Joseph Havel made me fully conscious of real nothingness. Lucky this was more in the word
and knowledge sense, than my extinguishing to Nirvana. Talley Dunn Gallery displays a
symphonic like mix of Havel’s conceptual musings, with abstract paintings, and textile
related sculptures.

I relate the show “Plus or Minus” to a symphony, because each piece in the show seems to
play an important part of a greater composition. The conceptual part of the show is like
the percussion. The wall installation is a huge collection of shirt labels, each with the word
“nothing” woven in, hung with straight pens. These labels cover the wall and seem to
boom out the word “nothing” loud and clear. I say these are conceptual in nature,
because the word “nothing” can be traced to the philosophy of Socrates. His number
one claim was that he knew nothing, and he was trying to find anyone that did. Ancient
Greek philosophers were debating whether the written word was promoting people to
forget more, because you didn’t have to memorize stories any longer. Havel taps into
the loss, gain, and loss of words and experiences though his assertion of “nothing.”
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The woodwinds are the “nothing” paintings. The image is drowned out in white with moments
of when you can see the word “nothing.” Each “nothing” is quiet, but sharp. I think I spent most
of my time looking at them. The gallery told me that Havel had a few more of these pieces in
the series, but not all of them fit the space. This told me that Havel not only authored all the
work, but he conducted the installation of the show. Though, I am sure he didn’t do it with
a baton.

Like an orchestra, each grouping of works played their own notes, but you could see some
interesting play in each individual piece as well. Joseph Havel and Talley Dunn Gallery
have put together a powerful show of subito between each grouping of art works in the
gallery to the crescendo in each piece. Joseph Havel will be exhibiting through February 25th.
The sculptures act as the string section. These structures give the illusion of being light and made
from textiles, but you can see that the work is physically heavy. The violin is light, but you can
feel the heaviness in the music. These representations of clothing are sometime attached to a
pedestal of stacked books. I would like to think these books are also playing with the idea
of remembering and forgetting, but I am not completely sure I am on the right track with this
thinking. It is worth exploring your own feeling when confronted with Havel’s symbols.

The paintings are the brass. You see a mix of line drawings and broad white brush strokes. These
paintings build and fall with expressive drips and brushstrokes. I enjoy how informal the larger
works are hung. These paintings are works on paper that have been push pinned to the wall.
You can see that the works have been push pinned several times. The holes in the paper are
like the improvised jazz moments in a performance, where as the framed paintings on paper
have been frozen like a music score.
nothing. (pinned), 2010 silk shirt labels and pins dimensions variable

Torn Sheet with Twist, 2010 Bronze 81 1/2 x 18 x 11 inches