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Joseph Renda Jr - A Place Called Home Framed Joseph Renda Jr - Beginning From an End

Joseph Renda Jr.’s Biophilia Goes On View at Vertical Gallery

Joseph Renda Jr.’s Biophilia Goes On View at Vertical Gallery

  • Joseph Renda Jr - The Lovers

May 28, 2020
Elena Martinique
A philosophy graduate interested in critical theory, politics and art. Alias of Jelena Martinović.

A Chicago-based artist, Joseph Renda Jr.. is intrigued by unifying contrary ideas such as life and entropy, chaos and order and nature and mankind. He combines stylistic approaches from classicism, surrealism and urban contemporary art and urban materials such as spray-paint with traditional oil painting mediums and techniques.

The artist’s latest body of work will soon be on view at Vertical Gallery in Chicago. Titled Biophilia, the exhibition brings together 32 new paintings and drawings examining humankind’s innate desire to connect with the natural world. The works on view urge viewers to contemplate their own role and responsibility in maintaining this relationship for the benefit of future generations.

Joseph Renda Jr - A Place Called Home Framed Joseph Renda Jr - Beginning From an End
Left: Joseph Renda Jr. – A Place Called Home Framed / Right: Joseph Renda Jr. – Beginning From an End

The Practice of Joseph Renda Jr.

Highly realistic, the work of Joseph Renda Jr. captures the inherent connection humans have with the natural world. Combining detailed photorealistic with surrealist imagery, he often depicts the human form interwoven with illusive natural elements. A distinct combination of old and new artistic techniques, his creative process ranges from throwing chemicals on top of paint to obtain uncontrollable reactions, to highly refined realism and trompe l’oeil.

Renda made his debut at the gallery in 2017 as part of an all-star holiday pop-up event, subsequently exhibiting at another Vertical pop-up headlined by Collin van der Sluijs and LIE. Renda has also curated and shown in numerous group exhibitions both at home and abroad, created public murals and graced the pages of magazines including New York’s Creative Bloch.

Joseph Renda Jr - Forged Through Years of Rough Waters Low, Joseph Renda Jr - Gaze Framed Low
Left: Joseph Renda Jr. – Forged Through Years of Rough Waters Low / Right: Joseph Renda Jr. – Gaze Framed Low


The artist’s first-ever solo gallery showcase, Biophilia seeks to illuminate humanity’s complex relationship to the flora and fauna that enrich our shared environment. As the artist explained, he always had an interest in nature and an interest in the connection between humans and nature.

I don’t mean for this work to be political. I simply want people to connect with the show in their own way — to experience their own Biophilia effect.

This body of work draws on classical oil painting techniques while paying homage to the Surrealist and Dadaist movements of the early 20th century, in particular, the innovations of Salvador Dalí and Rene Magritte. The surrealist outlook, that has always been present in Renda’s work, has now been pushed forward more explicitly.

I’ve always been in love with the Surrealists, but they were about what was going on in the subconscious. That’s not how I create. It doesn’t come from the subconscious — it comes from the outside world.

Joseph Renda Jr - On Look Out Low Joseph Renda Jr - Worship Framed
Left: Joseph Renda Jr. – On Look Out Low / Right: Joseph Renda Jr. – Worship Framed

Joseph Renda Jr. at Vertical Gallery

The exhibition Biophilia will be on view at Vertical Gallery in Chicago from June 6th until 27th, 2020.

The opening reception will take place on June 6th, from 12 to 8:00 p.m, in the presence of the artist. He will return to the gallery for an interactive artist talk scheduled for Saturday, June 20th at 3 p.m.

Featured image: Joseph Renda Jr. – The Lovers. All images courtesy of Vertical Gallery.

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