Joe Sweeney works with a visual language created through British idiosyncrasies, everyday references and the banal, commenting on our fast changing times by elevating the throw away. Through quick observation, the artist encourages a pause for thought on the daily interactions that we don’t always pay attention to. Playing with Britain’s passion for nostalgia, he often creates morbid but humorous work through sculpture, print and installation.
His most recent project ‘+44 leave a Message for Europe’ was centred around live web cam stream of a sculpture of a telephone box installed on Dungeness beach, Kent. The public were invited to call the sculpture online, no matter what their opinion, and leave their voice messages for Europe during the 28 day lead up to Britain’s original departure date from the EU, 29th March 2019. The project was extended into April and the full archive of voice messages is available to listen to at Leaveamessage4europe.com with an accompanying short film of the project ’28 Days in march…’ due to be released in October 2019.
‘His humour is a squeeze of lemon juice in a paper cut you didn’t know you had- he’s not mean but my god his euphemisms, puns, jokes and harsh realties are so nail bitingly close to the bone it makes you want to be vegan. Joe is a one-man band and where there is a fine line between inspiration and obsession and Joe and his work strides over it, sits on top of it and plays with it like a cat does a mouse. He can capture the sights that wonder by us daily unnoticed and forgotten, from seaside Britain in the 70’s to “U OK HUN??” millennials of the now, his work is frighteningly of the now with scratchy echo’s of the past too.’ – Harriet Verney, Love Magazine
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