Born in Co.Down, Ireland in 1940, Sloan is a self-taught artist. Whilst working in London, Sloan was drawn to the theatre, its mystic and magic, its drama and tragedy. With its capacity to explore the play of life in all its manifestations, theatre seemed a wonderful means of expression. However, after nine years in the profession, he began to tire of only being involved in the reproduction of artists/writers observation and comments. Around this time, he met a Liverpool sculptor called Brian Burgess who introduced Sloan to the studio. On telling him of his desire to sculpt, Burgess gave Sloan space and access to materials and told him to “get on with it!” The theatre career was over and his sculpture career had begun.
“Sculpture allows me to make a personal, visual impression of humankind; to express some facets of the mystery and magic of life. My sculptures emerge on a series of themes, exploring the figurative image either on the edges of realism or bordering on abstraction. They can take either direction and evoke some of the aspects of the essence of the human condition which I try to look at on as many levels as possible, returning sometimes to themes on which I worked thirty years before. I am influenced by man’s activities: sculpture permits me to embrace, at a more personal level, humankind , the many sides of his nature, his music, his leisure, his pleasures and his strivings. My works emerge from a creative need to give form to reflections and observations, perhaps to capture the transitory experience. I am drawn to and explore a wide range of subject matter”.
Joseph Sloan’s early career also spanned a period producing wood-engravings (including book illustrations) and he taught this discipline at the Camden Arts Centre, London. He is currently re-exploring printmaking, alongside his sculpture. As an artist, he has always been aware of the importance of working his sculptures through from the modelling up to the finishing and patination and thus he has cast a great number of his own sculptures. He has exhibited extensively in Europe, and was invited to exhibit in the 2007 Florence Biennale in December. Since then he has continued to exhibit in Ireland, U.K. and Italy. In 2009 his work was accepted by the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition, London and in Ulster he was an invited artist at the 2009 Royal Ulster Academy Annual Exhibition, also showing work as far away as Art Melbourne, Australia in 2010. Sloan’s work is included in public collections, as well as in private collections worldwide. After a successful exhibition during arts Week 2011, Sloan again held a mini retrospective in Kilkenny again in 2011, at the Ormonde Hotel. Sloan is looking forward to showing his larger scale work at the F.E.McWilliam Gallery and Studio in Bainbridge in 2013, in his native Ulster.