Joseph Alleman Perfectly Imperfect

Categories: 2020 January-February Issue, Joseph Alleman, Landscape, Oil, and Wildlife.

There’s only so much time you can spend driving, trying to find that perfect barn,” says Joseph Alleman, whose very livelihood depends on the quality of barns he’s able to locate and depict. Sometimes he renders them in dense, saturated watercolor; more often, he uses oils to achieve the opaque surfaces and clean lines for which he’s known.

Driving in search of those barns, Alleman recites the inner monologue that kicks in as the mile markers pass: “I’ve got to get out of the car. I’m wasting too much time. Let’s just stop here and make the best of it.”

Based on the impressive body of work he’s amassed during the past two decades, Alleman has become adept at making the best of imperfect barns and houses, imperfect horses and landscapes. The weathered siding, the boarded-up window, the power line cutting across the horizon—all those details simply add to the lifelike, but somehow richer-than-life, quality of his work.

Art has been a constant in Alleman’s life since childhood. “It was never really something that I had to think about; it was just kind of always there,” he says, describing the origins of his artistic career. “I grew up in a home where there were always projects and art kinds of things going on. If you grow up in that kind of environment, it’s normal.”

Brush Swept Sky

14” by 12”

“As much as I enjoyed painting the barn, the title says it all. The patterns in the sky came together in perfect harmony. I love how visible the brushwork is—finished but not overworked.”

Thunderhead Herd

34” by 28”

“Blurring the line between reality and exploration—elements of both are at work here, combining a couple of favorite subjects: clouds and horses.”