Joe Andoe’s blunt-beauty Americana paintings of “open landscapes and portraits of things hanging around landscapes” have long been collected around the globe, including the permanent stables of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and The Whitney Museum of American Art. In Andoe’s latest series, he returns to the heart of panorama fixation with a refreshing kinetic twist (minus his prolific horses with their dark-eyed stares). The artist revisits the rural pathways of his hometown of east Tulsa OK, yet this time through the convenience of Google Satellite Street Maps.
Taking a ride with the all-seeing periscopic Google eye, Andoe pauses, pivots, prints and paints his familiar territory. Nothing much has changed except the onslaught of telephone lines just above the horizon: The Information Super Highway. Represented in new strokes of punctuated abstraction – bold green, white translucent or beaming – Andoe asserts energy-data flowing through space. Andoe embeds ‘meta strokes’ on his already proven, thoughtful painterly depth. Bringing a necessary articulation of ‘his mode of return,’ his interruptions of representational space are not random but ‘belong.’
Running with his theme of simultaneous travel, there is another landscape and another still-life: internet-enabling satellites in outer space. Joe confronts the geometry of orbiting devices sending their own streams of infinite possibilities back down to us. The signals radiate out like broad and bursting show-lights – as if illuminating Andoe’s well-preserved cross-roads down below. The duality of floating satellites and drifting power lines is accompanied by a third form of ‘thrust’ – pure Horse Power (Perhaps Joe’s perpetual need for painting horses have not totally been abandoned). Grandiose, elongated drag race cars are hilariously poised upward on takeoff, as if barely able to hold the balance of thrust and the levity of the car itself. The humor is inevitable, the result of capturing that paradoxical sensation when really fast things look still. Andoe once spoke of his landscape paintings – “psychedelic but real, like early country music, like what the Byrds did when I saw them at my first concert back in Tulsa in 1969.”
From the beginning Andoe had a handle on the poetic silver lining, as if in perpetual slow motion. This is made evident with his critically acclaimed memoir Jubilee City, where Andoe seemed to stand longer on the wrong side of the tracks, which, of course, could only give a more dynamic point of view through a rarity of wit – and one that never compromises a respect of the elements.“There is this thing common in HIFI audio these days called ‘DAC’ – digital to analog converter. It’s a device that basically takes mp3 files and converts the signal back to analog so its sound more like an LP and this is what I am doing by taking broad band digital technology and converting it to oil paint or a dragsters demonstration of horse power.” – Joe Andoe, 2015