You must first login or register to follow this artist.

b. 1986, United States

Joseph Yaeger Biography

Presenting close-up fragments of time, emerging realist painter Joseph Yaeger creates art that evokes fleeting memories of an American upbringing and complex feelings that language only imperfectly conveys.

Read More

Early Years

Born in 1986, Yaeger was raised in Helena, Montana. Various references to American pop culture in his works allude to this upbringing.

After what the artist describes as a 'dismal' semester at Montana State University's film school, he was encouraged to attend the Rhode Island School of Design from which he graduated with a BFA in 2008. He subsequently studied at London's Royal College of Art, completing an MA in painting in 2019.

Joseph Yaeger Artworks

Painted with layers of watercolour on gessoed canvas that add to their hazy sense of impermanence, Joseph Yaeger's paintings transform sourced images and his own photography to evoke fleeting moments of subconscious recollection and thought.

Second Wrong Turn

Often accompanied with enigmatic titles, Yaeger's paintings from the outset have presented a seemingly disparate array of visual moments.

In early water colour on paper works, the artist presents moments from strangers' home movies he sourced from YouTube. Subsequent works include snippets from popular culture, such as John Denver on TV or a mysterious beast spotted in the woods, alongside moments from the every-day—like looking down a hole used to install water-mains or being lost driving in a blizzard.

Yaeger's choice of subjects from the imagery he scours is driven by an undefinable subconscious pull. The artist describes the process in a 2020 interview, 'I'll come across an image—sometimes I'm searching for one, sometimes I stumble into it—and the feeling of it, the arrangement, the subject, the relation of subjects within the image, will sort of jar me, attract me, dislodge me.'

Using visual techniques such as doubling, reflections and unusually cropped close-ups, Yaeger's paintings capture moments that are intended to trigger the subconscious. In Second Wrong Turn (2020), one of two similar images presented at MAMOTH, London's after image exhibition, the artist uses paint to recreate the sensation of being lost while driving in snow, conveying the energy and blurred movement of the experience. He also plays with the concept of time passing, using cracking (or craquelure) on the painted surface (a natural result of the materials used), to create an effect the artist describes as 'time moving through an image itself'.

Power Ballads

In Yaeger's 'Power Ballads' (2020) series, the artist evokes the mundane and quotidian, presenting snippets of the ordinary. Sweat running down the forehead; a face cut while shaving; a bird's-eye view of a head going bald; synchronised swimmers' legs poised upwards in mid-routine are among the scenes captured in banal suburban settings such as the bathroom and swimming pool. The works evoke momentary nostalgia in the familiar and fleeting fast-paced moments of emotional intensity.

Water, whether it is rain, sweat or tears, plays a prominent role in several works in the series including the painting Power Ballad (2020). In this painting, two lovers embrace in an intimate moment concealed by drops of water running down a fogged pane of glass.

Glass and Reflection

Yaeger also often features glass in his images, in various shapes and forms. Able to be reflective or transparent—concealing, revealing and distorting the original subject—the artist uses glass as a visual metaphor for language which communicates but can never perfectly encapsulate interior feelings.

In Longing is grief for loss we cannot name (2021) a woman is doubled as she gazes into a mirror, her agonized expression reflected, echoing a tormented interiority. In other works, a magnifying glass held to the lips or the eye distorts the face, or a figure is fragmented into pieces by distorted mirrors and reflective patterned windows. Obscured and distorted subjects conceal obscure meanings unknown to the viewer.


Joseph Yaeger has been the subject of both solo exhibitions and group exhibitions.

Solo exhibitions include: Doublespeak, Project Native Informant, London (2021); The Writer, Project Native Informant, London (2020); Power Ballads, V.O Curations, London (2020).

Group exhibitions include: Dozie Kanu | Flo Brooks | Hal Fischer | Joseph Yaeger | Kenneth Bergfeld | Sophia Al-Maria, Project Native Informant, London (2020); after image, MAMOTH, London (2020); This Too Shall Pass, The Function Suite, London (2019); Thumbnails, Hockney Gallery, London (2018).

Website and Instagram

Joseph Yaeger's website can be found here and his Instagram can be found here.

Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2021

Joseph Yaeger
representative works

Joseph Yaeger
recent exhibitions

Joseph Yaeger in
Ocula Magazine

Learn more about the market for works
by Joseph Yaeger.
Enquire for a confidential discussion. Enquire Now
Simon Fisher, Ocula CEO
Ocula Advisor
Simon Fisher
Christoper Taylor, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Christopher Taylor
Eva Fuchs, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Eva Fuchs
Rory Mitchell, Ocula Advisor
Ocula Advisor
Rory Mitchell

Joseph Yaeger in
Ocula Advisory

Read 11 More
Read 11 More
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Follow Joseph Yaeger
Stay ahead.
Receive updates on new artworks,
exhibitions and articles.
Your personal data is held in accordance with our privacy policy.
Do you have an Ocula account?
Ocula discover the best in contemporary art icon.
Get Access
Join Ocula to request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Do you have an Ocula account? Login
What best describes your interest in art?

Subscribe to our newsletter for upcoming exhibitions, available works, events and more.
By clicking Sign Up or Continue with Facebook or Google, you agree to Ocula's Terms & Conditions. Your personal data is held in accordance with our Privacy Policy.
Thank you for joining us. Just one more thing...
Soon you will receive an email asking you to complete registration. If you do not receive it then you can check and edit the email address you entered.
Thank you for joining us.
You can now request price and availability of artworks, exhibition price lists and build a collection of favourite artists, galleries and artworks.
Welcome back to Ocula
Enter your email address and password below to login.
Reset Password
Enter your email address to receive a password reset link.
Reset Link Sent
We have sent you an email containing a link to reset your password. Simply click the link and enter your new password to complete this process.