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Joe Turek: Save Face Exhibit at Clarke

By Clarke News  |  October 30, 2018
Joe Turek

The Clarke University Quigley Gallery will feature an exhibition of paintings by Joe Turek, titled Save Face. The exhibition will run from Tuesday, November 6 – Saturday, December 1, 2018. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is free.

Joe Turek received a BFA degree in studio art with an art education certification from Clarke University in 2010. Turek taught for four years at Freeport High School (Ill). He received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Syracuse University in May 2018 and is currently an art and media high school teacher in Greenfield, Calif. Turek also serves as the assistant director of the non-profit Talent Agency Teen Portfolio Development, Inc.

Turek’s current body of work is about his subjects’ loss of control, toxic masculinity, and the portrait painting process. In his artist statement for Save Face, he writes: “I paint a portrait to undo a person. I achieve this by painting representations of them in acrylic paint on top of wax that is then melted away. The person is trying to save face because they have been accused of something heinous. Some of them are men who abuse their power, some are archetypes of masculinity defending their honor. They have constructed themselves to be something that they are not and they are falling apart.”

Turek goes on to explain, “Removing the picture of someone is not the same as actually removing them, these men remain in our lives much like the paint remains on the canvas. We do not want to see them, collectively and individually we want to forget that this exists, so this process changes how we see people trying to hide behind this mask of identity. It points to the collapse of the white masculine identity as it has been currently constructed. If we can see them changed, but not gone, then we might begin to construct something new out of what remains.”

Louise Kames, Clarke Professor of Art and Art + Design department chair, states, “Clarke’s Art + Design faculty members are pleased to showcase the work of an accomplished young alumna, Joe Turek, during Clarke’s 175th anniversary celebration. Turek’s series of haunting portraits invites the viewer to be part of his dialog with contemporary society.”