“I make representations of people’s bodies to explore the ways each individual’s inner reality of the mind is expressed in the outer reality of the flesh
I’m interested in the collision of outer perception and inner reality, the juxtaposition of the judgments and labels each of us places on others, with the more expansive terms with which we try to define ourselves
I’m interested in our vulnerability, our sexuality, our masks, and our identity, both public and private
The Japanese language and culture draw a clear distinction between honne, the vulnerable inner world, and tatemae, the outer world we choose show to others I am interested in dwelling at that boundary, and inviting people to cross it, with others, with themselves.
My work is the outgrowth of my own personal and professional relationships. It is a diary and portrait of those I know and love, of my connections to them, my desire or distance from them, and of my often flawed understandings of them. I’m drawn to the idiosyncrasies of people’s personalities, and of their bodies. I work in a highly demanding, realistic style based in the 3000 year old tradition of Western classical art, but use it not to express an ideal or universal depiction of humanity, but rather to find universal truths through the exploration and celebration of the individual.
Three-dimensionality and sculptural form are central to my work and my understanding of the world. I have no interest in art that is enshrined simply because it is classical looking or technically slick, though it is better than the great mass of art today that is enshrined because it is stupid and incomprehensible.
Both of these are like conversations at a party that everyone else has lost interest in, but that the tiny handful still talking can’t let go of, not because they’re even especially interested, but because they believe that being a member of that ignored little chat makes them somehow important
No one cares
The real art, like the real party, happens out back, or after hours, and is rarely enshrined by anyone
It cannot be enshrined
In order to connect to it, you have to interact, take a risk, take off some clothes, be dangerous with yourself
Good art, like a good party, does not leave you the option of safely remaining a spectator
I work with the figure because even after thousands of years, it’s still dangerous
It still has the same ability to touch people, to inspire and offend, to make people uncomfortable, to provoke thought and evoke emotion
Our fragile, sexy, vulnerable, basic fleshiness is a truth we all know and acknowledge every day, but still try to ignore, suppress, and legislate out of sight
The silliness of this fascinates me
My work is fleshy
I choose materials that seem to me to best explore the touch and feel of flesh, hoping within that to somehow to find an individual human soul, and within that, to find myself, and give you a chance to see yourself as well
About Joshua Diedrich
Joshua Diedrich grew up in the Kalamazoo area, and began drawing as a preschooler
At fourteen he entered the adult program at the Kalamazoo Institute for the Arts museum school, received his BFA from the University of Michigan in sculpture and drawing, studied sculpture in Western France, and was the department head at the KIA for four years
He currently runs a teaching studio in Kalamazoo where he works on commissions as well as his own work, and takes on apprentices in figurative art and sculpture