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Review by Art Editor, The New York Times



“Each Era sees still life painting in terms of its own visual and intellectual priorities. From the ancient Greeks onward, The theme has had its philosophical and scientific underpinnings, and has been associated with moral, religious and theoretical issues. Since the Late 19th century, modern artists have added their experiments with perception, color and form to that of tradition.

Joe Wilder’s resonant paintings remind us that today’s audience is likely to respond to the isolation of familiar objects in stark, direct compositions and to paint used as an independent expressive tool. To contemporary viewers, Wilder’s centralized image against a mysterious undefined background is the perfect magic object; his light can be understood as an artificial, mesmerizing force, and his color can become a suitable conveyer of hallucinatory POWER. Time seems suspended in these paintings, in part because the images invite concentration.

Time can also have transitory meanings here too, for the perishable character of the fruit and flowers depicted allows them to become symbols for the temporal. Wilder’s scrutiny of the momentary in nature is related to his long term interest in painting such transitory subjects as speeding race cars, thoroughbred racing horses, the swift dynamics of the basketball court or playing field, and the tense action within a hospital operating room.

Wilder’s images inevitably tend to be placed against the still life tradition in general. His handling of pigment, light, tonal contracts and the tendency to simplify groupings show an admiration for Chardin.

Ultimately, however, it is the 20th century attitude towards freer, more personal interpretations of reality that helps Wilder’s works stand apart. With light and texture no longer expected to strictly serve the descriptive needs of illusionism, subjectively motivated adjustments can create radiant and unexpected effects: light drenched flower petals filled with vitality, for example. Wilder’s effects produce quietly emotional contemplative pieces with an aura that can be quite gripping.” Phyliss Braff, Art Editor, The New York Times