18 this tug of war is what informs the work and creates the coupling between the complexity and the simplicity that makes his art so meaningful. Joe will tell you that he hates construction more than anything but it has continued to put food on the table and literally a roof over the heads of the family he loves so completely which begs the question how can he not be grudgingly grateful and ultimately influenced by what he has learned on the job site and not only in the studio even if it manifests itself in the banality of being able to perfectly spackle a wall which in turn earns him the right to permanently scar it with a sculptural gesture. It is the same tenacity which drove him to single handedly finish a 25 foot flat stone chimney without scaffolding that also gave him the confidence and expertise to tackle the complex geometric matrix of building a boat hull. There is a final story about Joe that could be interpreted as sentimental a word that carries the kind of baggage that most creative talent understandably shuns but it is an emotion that can also carry a prism of other powerful tools of perception like empathy compassion a deep sense of history and a dedication to the hierarchy of appreciation. One of the buildings near his current studio in Red Hook houses a metal working factory which to Joe is like having an art supply store within spitting distance of the studio. On a random afternoon in the early 1990s he walked in and asked the proprietor already a friend if there was any copper lying around. There was pause as the owner mentally shuffled through his inventory and then pointed to a corner pile. Somewhere in there is a sheet of copper that we salvaged from a studio across the street. After some tugging and pulling Joe extracted a beautiful square piece of luminescent orange metal. Now with it leaning against the wall he could just make out a perfectly etched oval almost dead center. Yeah Joe heard over his shoulder got it as salvage after the guy hung himself from a ceiling joist not that long ago. And so was born the piece First Burning For C.W. The fact that Joe not only had the chance to work with this beautiful piece of metal but that it had already been touched better yet anointed by the great Christopher Wilmarth was a moment of pure tragic bliss for Joe. It was an opportunity given and received for a mystic collaboration with an artist who like Joe was all in mind body and spirit and who through this piece of copper was a living manifestation of a struggle gallantly fought a legacy left unfinished and a terrible price paid for going down with the ship.