Joseph Gurka


MFA Student

Major: Sculpture

Graduation Year: 2019

Artist Statement:

Joseph Gurka creates situations for the viewer to become more aware of their surroundings and themselves. Gurka’s installations have multiple points of entry both physically and metaphorically for the viewer to investigate and develop their own narratives. His strategic placement of various objects and materials activates their perceived beauty. Gurka blends seemingly disparate matter into something new. Joseph Gurka creates micro-environments that are inhabited by both found and manufactured objects. The objects are in dialogue with one another and the architecture with which they converge. The environments that Joseph Gurka installs them in affect the object’s read. There is no clear indication where the objects and architecture begin or end, as they are seamlessly integrated. At times, the arrangement of the objects creates the impression of a former action. This device activates the space for the viewer, thus fostering investigation. The space legitimizes the objects and materials within the installation. Gurka translates his experiences through the use of light and sound to help the viewer become more aware of space and time, and the forgotten beauty that surrounds us all.


Joseph Gurka was born in Roselle, NJ. He grew up navigating the neglected creek behind his childhood house collecting objects of interest that would call out to him. He would spend weekends frequenting scrap yards with his father when he wasn’t retreating to sparsely forested areas with friends or the occasional retreat to shore points. These experiences gave Joseph Gurka a penchant for objects that operated as time capsules, as well as a connection to natural environments.

Joseph Gurka is primarily known for his sculptural and site-responsive
installation works that take on the form of micro-environments. He creates situations for the viewer to become more aware of their body in time and space.