Joshua Ware is an artist and poet who was born in Cleveland, OH. His visual art has appeared in exhibitions in Denver, Boulder, Santa Ana, and the Scandinavian Collage Museum in Berkåk, Norway. Reproductions of his work have been used for book and magazines covers, and featured in print and online journals. He is also the author of Unwanted Invention / Vargtimmen and Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley, both published by Furniture Press Books. His work has appeared in magazines such as American Letters & Commentary, Conduit, Denver Quarterly, Fence, Gulf Coast, and New American Writing. He currently lives in Denver, CO.
Joshua Ware was born in Cleveland, OH in 1977, where he lived until 1995.
He studied English Literature and Fiction Writing at Ohio University in Athens and graduated in 1995. He spent the following years traveling the United States with extended stays in Atlanta, GA and San Diego, CA.
In 2000, he return to Ohio to pursue a degree in Management Information Systems at Miami University in Oxford, OH. After graduating in 2002, he moved to Denver, CO.
While living in Denver, Ware earned a Masters of Arts in English Literature with a focus in poetry at the University of Colorado-Denver. He studied with the late Jake Adam York, working with him closely as the Poetry Editor for Copper Nickel. During this period, Ware also worked as a Poetry Editor for the now-defunct Ghost Road Press.
Around this time, Ware became fascinated with the manifestos of the Continental Avant Garde, particularly the Futurist, Dada, and Surreal movements. The writing and philosophy of Marinetti, Tzara, and Breton inspired him to incorporate non-normative syntax, chance operations, collage, automatic procedures, and dream-logic into his writing. He also began experimenting with visual collage. His creative and intellectual explorations led him to the New York School poets, particularly the writing and collage work of John Ashbery.
To further his artistic and poetic pursuits, Ware moved to Lincoln, NE in late-2007 and entered the doctoral program in English Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska. While his primary focus was the writing of poetry, his research interests centered on American Experimental Poetry during the Twentieth Century and Hybrid Poetics.
He defined Hybrid Poetics as writing that attended to one, some, or all of the following criteria: 1) writing that contains visual images, 2) was collaboratively composed, 3) defies normative genre conventions, or 4) employs alternate modes/mediums of production or presentation. Through his intensive studies on this subject matter, Ware moved away from written expression and toward more visual forms.
His study of Hybrid Poetics resulted in the writing and publication of Homage to Homage to Homage to Creeley, which won the second annual Furniture Press Poetry Prize and was released in 2011. The book, following the tradition of Jack Spicer and Rod Smith, blends multiple forms and genres in order to undermine standardized notions of those conventions and discourses.
After briefly returning to Denver, CO to complete his doctorate remotely, Ware moved back to his hometown of Cleveland, OH in the summer of 2012 where he taught poetry and writing at Case Western Reserve University. He ran a reading series in conjunction with his course Poets of Ohio, that brought prominent writers to campus. During the period, he wrote weekly reviews and criticism for the online journal Vouched Books.
While in Cleveland, he furthered his foray into visual arts through a regular collage practice and a book deconstruction project, titled Immersive / Intensive. The project sought to re-imagine one's engagement with a book artifact by physically altering it during the reading process.
In 2014, he returned to Denver, CO. While his daily creative practice had already shifted to an exclusively visual endeavor, he published his second (and third) book of poetry, which he composed between 2011 and 2014. The book, titled Unwanted Invention / Vargtimmen, loosely followed the narrative of two lovers and the dissolution of their relationship. Furniture Press Books released it in the autumn of 2015.
Until recently, Ware's collage work focused almost exclusively on small-scale works. But in late-2016, he received a commission to create a large-scale piece. Iterative Portrait // Mutable Identity (pictured above) was his initial foray into mixed media panel work. The diptych consisted of two 53" x 43" wood panels (which he constructed with the help of the artist Peter Yumi). To complete the panels, he used acrylic paint, paper images, cigarette butts, as well as archival adhesives and varnishes.
Since then, Ware has worked primarily in this mode, further exploring the use of acrylics and paper on wood panels. In addition to studying the mixing, interaction, and application of acrylic paint, he has begun to regularly incorporate his original photography into his pieces. While his backgrounds owe much to the Bauhaus movement's (particularly Josef Albers) penchant for geometric shapes and color fields, he still relies on absurd imagery indebted to Dada and Surrealism. More recently, he sought to incorporate Pop Art and street aesthetics of Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat into his art.