Joel Slotte is a Helsinki-based visual artist, who works in painting, drawing and sculpture. His figurative oil paintings often portray alternative versions of himself and his close friends. These alters egos, avatars and (auto)fictional characters become a means of facing an accelerated and disenchanted reality. Forests, gas station grills, allotment gardens, fields of sunflowers, swimming hall cafeterias and medieval castle ruins set the scenes for characters lost in quiet self-reflection, tiredness, inner monologue, daydreaming or emotional in-between states.
Slotte’s way of painting is time consuming and detailed. He paints his characters’ beard stubble, pores, inflamed pimples, intricate tattoos done in a medieval woodcut style and the milieus’ individual blades of grass and texture of pine bark with equal precision. The time spent on the details condenses into an indiscriminate sensuousness that is designed to speak to the senses of smell and touch. The cold sweat before a rolling thunder in the horizon, the sharpness of dried reeds and the smell of lilacs mixing with that of purulent wounds during a summer heatwave.