Joseph A. Rafferty III

Exhibit Description
Love is All Heart Break…Until it Isn’t features new photographic self-portraits by the artist, as well as wall-based text works, illustration, sculpture, and video. The variety of media exemplifies the multitude of worlds Rafferty encompasses and those to which he strives to offer equitable light.

Raised in 1970s San Francisco by a Bohemian, free-spirited mother, Rafferty’s formative years cemented his utopian philosophies and adherence to love and community. This was disrupted by his mother’s premature death, and the resulting parenting assumed by his totalitarian, orthodox father. These experiences birthed the dichotomies of Rafferty’s practice: lush color fields with pristine analytics, self-reflection while observing the world, love and loss.

Shrouded in primordial mythologies, Rafferty’s work recalls a surrealist dreamscape, replete with symbolism, negative space, words where shapes should be, all shepherding linear thought through a maze. 

Each artwork represents a metamorphosis from the intimate workings of the mind to digital existence through a variety of processes. Rafferty intentionally preserves the details and imperfections found in the physical world, thus capturing the expansive nature of humanity in all its messy beauty and begs the question “why not love more?”.
Artist Biography
Joseph A. Rafferty III (b. 1976, San Francisco, CA) is a visual artist based in The American South. Rafferty was educated at Art Center College of Design, CA and at the International Center for Photography, NY. He has exhibited worldwide, most recently in 2020 with the exhibition LOST: A Photographic Journey at Museo del Territorio di Commòns in Triste, Italy. In 2021, his inaugural art book, the mixed-media Man’s Search For Meaning, was inducted into the International Center for Photography’s Library Collection, while an exhibition of the same name was presented in Summer 2022 at The Fruit in Durham, NC.

Rafferty explores themes of identity with a practice centered around photography, expanding into multimedia with sculpture, immersive installation, text, illustration, and moving image. Much like the early and mid-century art movements of Dada and Fluxus, Rafferty’s aesthetic decisions are guided by unpredictability, allowing the cosmic and terrestrial, subconscious and conscious to merge in the resulting artworks. Rafferty is an MFA candidate at Transart Institute, UK, in Creative Research (2023-2024).


Artist Name(s): Joseph A. Rafferty III
Exhibit Name: Love is All Heart Break…Until it Isn’t
Gallery Location: CAM Lower Level Gallery
Current Status: Past