There’s more than meets the eye in Joe Black’s first solo show

Opera Gallery | Daniel O’Mahony
Three Stars

IN HIS debut solo exhibition, British artist Joe Black employs a technique that feels a little over-familiar – making big things out of lots of little things. But it doesn’t feel derivative. A self-professed “love of materials” led the 39-year-old artist to create images using small everyday objects, undertakings that required months of painstaking assembly. Black’s reverence for pop culture is clear. He reworks Warhol’s portrait of Chairman Mao as a collage of thousands of plastic toy soldiers. It’s literally a case of looking closer to divine the deeper message. Simplistic perhaps, but it works. Less arresting are the freestanding sculptures – your eyes are always drawn back to those hanging on the walls. One piece set to cause a stir is a massive portrait of Diana Princess of Wales – her features are depicted using only broken toy cars.