Joseph Renda Jr. Explores the Surreal World with ‘Biophilia’
Vertical Gallery is very proud to present “Biophilia,” a solo exhibit spotlighting Chicago artist Joseph Renda Jr.
Running from June 6-27, 2020, “Biophilia” brings together 32 new paintings and drawings examining humankind’s innate desire to connect with the natural world, urging viewers to contemplate their own role and responsibility in maintaining this relationship for the benefit of future generations.
“Biophilia,” Renda’s first-ever solo gallery showcase, juxtaposes intricate, highly realistic imagery with boldly surrealistic flourishes to illuminate humanity’s complex relationship to the flora and fauna that enrich our shared environment. “I’ve always had an interest in nature and an interest in the connection between humans and nature, and that’s what the term ‘Biophilia’ embodies,” Renda explains. “I don’t mean for this work to be political. I simply want people to connect with the show in their own way — to experience their own Biophilia effect.”
While ‘Biophila’ draws on the classical oil painting techniques that distinguished Renda’s earlier work, these new pieces also pay explicit homage to the Surrealist and Dadaist movements of the early 20th century, in particular the innovations of Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte. “My work has always had a surreal outlook, but it was very subtle. This time I pushed it more,” Renda says. “I’ve always been in love with the Surrealists, but they were about what was going on in the subconscious. That’s not how I create. It doesn’t come from the subconscious — it comes from the outside world.”
Renda first attracted attention for his work while in high school, claiming first-place honors in the 2012 Congressional Art Competition. He entered the American Academy of Art with a focus on illustration, but embraced fine art and oil painting at the urging of his instructor and mentor Anthony Adcock, earning his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2018. Renda made his Vertical Gallery debut in 2017 as part of an all-star holiday pop-up event, subsequently exhibiting at another Vertical pop-up headlined by Collin van der Sluijs and LIE. Renda has also curated and shown in numerous group exhibitions both at home and abroad, created public murals and graced the pages of magazines including New York’s Creative Bloch. In addition, he owns and operates ArtBuilds LLC, an artist service and woodworking company.
Joseph Renda Jr.
June 6-27, 2020
Vertical Gallery, 1016 N. Western Ave., Chicago