Published: 13 September 2017
At first glance, Joe Hargan's paintings appear to contain some humorous narrative in a quirky, colourful setting. Loudly painted walls with chequered tile floors often encase situations between recurring characters like a portly wine-toting butler, a young lady, and spotted pet dog.
Upon closer inspection, it becomes clear that Hargan's works in fact resist blatant narration and instead seek to run audiences through myriad loops of possible connections and storylines. Rather than an obvious scene of interacting figures, Hargan presents symbols and stock characters in close proximity which create numerous lines of potential explanations crisscrossing throughout the interior.
A glance across Hargan's oeuvre reveals the artist establishing his stock characters, rearranging them over and over like interchangeable parts. This creates anticipation for 'the next episode'- how will Hargan position the pieces this time?
There is a great sense of humour about Hargan's 'situations'; equally present are his artistic ability, steady hand, and distinct claim upon uniqueness and individuality. Even one of Hargan's settings can entrance the mind and eye for hours on end; go ahead, have a wander.