Joe Fig: Other Artists

Dayton Art Institute

Cristin Tierney Gallery is pleased to announce Joe Fig’s solo exhibition Other Artists at the Dayton Art Institute. Featuring paintings, sculptures and photography, the exhibition surveys over two decades of Fig’s career. Other Artists opens October 15, 2022 and continues through January 15, 2023.


Joe Fig has long been interested in examining what usually goes overlooked in the art world. The artist first came to prominence in the early 2000s for his exacting sculptural replications of artists’ studios, which pulled back the curtain on the working spaces of such artists as Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, Inka Essenhigh, and April Gornik. Each has been created to scale with handmade and found objects, guided by Fig’s meticulous attention to detail. Every paint splatter on the floor is intentional; each crumpled piece of paper has been specially placed. Other Artists includes a selection of these sculptures alongside Fig’s photographs of them.


Subsequently, Fig also created paintings and drawings of artists working in their studios as well as sculptures of their worktables. These works were the culmination of an extremely involved process, in which Fig interviewed the artist before photographing and measuring their studio—documentation that he later used to produce his work. Fig considers these works to be portraits of the artist, and he carefully selects the tools, spaces, and poses that he feels crystallize their creative essence. 


In his most recent work, Fig turns his focus from the places where art is made to the places where it is shared with the public. Called his Contemplation series (2016 – present), these paintings depict art viewers and artworks he has experienced in numerous exhibitions over the past six years. A regular observer of art exhibitions, Fig trains his eye by contemplating other artists’ work, choosing to paint exhibitions that he finds especially inspiring. The resulting paintings encompass a rich diversity of styles, periods, and artistic media. 


Fig’s paintings about well-known modernist artists offer a fitting coda to the exhibition. His Cinematic Paintings (2011-2012) are culled from popular films about artists such as Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Klimt. The works both acknowledge and disarm the mythology attached to artists, showing the painters in quiet moments and conversation rather than furious activity. Similarly, Fig’s paintings of famous artists’ palettes tackle the notion that there is something magical about the tools an artist has used—while also hinting at the different working styles employed by some of history’s best-known painters.


Considered as a cohesive body of work for the first time, Other Artists is a celebration of the creative process and a revelation regarding the journey of an artwork from original idea to public consumption. 


Other Artists is the largest survey to date of Fig’s works. It was drawn from the collections of Ronnie and John Shore and the James F. Dicke Family collection.

September 7, 2022