Jo deVera: “Paper Tiger” April 2021 Exhibition

Paper Tiger

Oil on canvas

8 ft x 4.5 ft

Thursday April 15 – Sunday April 25, 2021

Opening April 17th @ 3pm-6pm*

COOP is elated to present “Paper Tiger”, an exhibition of new and recent paintings made by California-based artist Joe deVera. Formerly enlisted in the United States Marine Corps who has served in two combat deployments, his work attempts to make sense of the absurd theaters of human tragedy by way of making, as if somehow, the inherent anachronism of art objects are enough to correct the discrepancies of our current historiography. Often his work can be viewed as an aggregate of weaponized material as well as a marshaled victim of the military complex.  The works themselves, which range from paintings amalgamated from various sources, to shambling fabricated archetypes of familiar structures or figures, are constructed with a combination of repurposed military equipment, domestic household items and discarded construction material gathered from local sites.  It is within these disparate processes that his work creates a transitional element in which to employ our ability to visually access human events at various levels simultaneously. Perhaps these art objects would also serve as a conduit between human experiences, interacting within systems of retrospection, myth, and metaphor.  It is within these contingencies that deVera’s work traces the potential to not only amend how we represent and contextualize the world and events around us, past and present but also create new dialogues to build upon its understanding.


Joe deVera’s works are often attempts to clarify the absurd theaters of human tragedy; exploring the possible relationships between historiography and art objects, while simultaneously investigating the cultural networks of mass conflict.  Having emigrated from the Philippines with his family in order to escape a climate of crushing poverty and government oppression, then further enlisting in the Marines Corps after high school (serving two combat deployments to Iraq in support of the second Gulf War), deVera’s work also become autobiographical observations of power structures and the machines of empire.

Incendiary, 2020

Oil on Canvas

25 in x 18 in