Joel Rea was born in 1983 and graduated from the Queensland College of Art with a Bachelor of Fine Art in 2003. He has exhibited his paintings through out Australia for the last 13 years featuring also in notable overseas exhibitions in the United States, Europe and Asia. Rea has been acclaimed for his oil paintings in many prestigious art awards held across Australia including most recently the Fleurieu Landscape Prize, The Mosman Art Award, The Sulman Prize and the 2016 Moran Prize for Portraiture. Rea has won the 2013 ANL Maritime Art Award and the 2014 Black Swan Portraiture Prize People’s Choice Award. In 2015 Rea conducted a New York City residency and sell out solo exhibition at the Jonathan LeVine Gallery and the following year was selected alongside 60 renowned international artists in the world’s first Instagram Paintguide exhibition held in London.
In a recent article for the Huffington Post, Brandon Kralik writes – ‘Representational painting today is not what it used to be and cannot be dismissed as longing for the past or harkening back to the Romantics of the 19th century. Although Rea’s work shares an aesthetic with Romanticism this is not about going back at all. They take from the past and move us toward tomorrow. He calls himself a Contemporary Surrealist Painter. Wikipedia describes Contemporary art as having developed from Postmodern art and although Joel Rea is very much alive and is dealing with issues of our present time, his work is far removed from the multimedia and purely conceptual work that has come to define Postmodernism and much of what is referred to as Contemporary art. To me Rea’s work moves in separate direction, one that is reconstructive, or Post Contemporary, as it places importance on craftsmanship and empathy. One thing for certain is that Rea’s paintings speak in a language where such words are not needed at all. There need be no artspeak to accompany them, to tell the viewer what is happening. The paintings speak for themselves.‘ September, 2015.