Joseph Meloy (b.1982) is a visual artist born and raised in New York City. Working in a style he coined “Vandal Expressionism”, his particular brand of post-graffiti abstraction draws heavily from AbEx, art brut, surrealism, cave painting and pop art, invoking primal elements of graffiti and the iconography of damage and intrusion from street art to turn the calligraphic scribbles of the street into a medium for artistic divination. Unencumbered by distinctions between the abstract and the figurative, his work delves into the impulses of the subconscious, transcribing them spontaneously onto canvas, paper and wall in an otherworldly yet distinctly urban visual language.

Channeling energy, emotion, information and inclination, Meloy puts media to substrate and records his experience in a process that is both pictographic as well as an extension of written language. Worlds unto themselves – Meloy’s work express the archeology their own organized societies.

Bouncing, fluttering, twisting and interlocking, the pieces pile up and fall into place as the marks flicker in and out of representation, coalescing into abstracted impressions of the natural and manmade universe.

Like an ancient language yet to be decoded, there is an air of mystery and ample room for interpretation but amidst the unknown, it is apparent that there are systems of logic and nature at play, and there are underlying themes taking shape as the process unfolds.

Visions of cityscapes, mountains of mechanical detritus, coming to life in sculptural configurations, desert scenes reminiscent of maps from sidescrolling 8-bit video games, graffiti inscribed onto the walls of ancient Pompeii, animals and tribal figures summoned from the cave paintings.

Photo: Meenakshi Dash