Joe Sweeney’s pastels of Boathouse Row, a subject with which he has become identified, are often frontal views that exaggerate the tonal contrast between the sun washed facades and the umbral darkness of the park behind...they apotheosizes Sunday -in-the-park- Philadelphia.
THE INQUIRER, Ed Sozanski, "ART", (Philadelphia) Nov.1, 1984
Joseph Sweeney’s oil County Airport (1986) is a dramatic landscape composed of a series of horizontals: a dark border of green fields in the foreground, beyond which is a sliver of dazzling sunlight on a strip of land which includes a group of low buildings, then a hill stretching across the scene, topped off by a cloud- filled sky occupying three quarters of the painting. The Daily Record, Bernard Perlman, Dec.13, 1988 (Baltimore)
Joe Sweeney...”Prize Winners”, is a snappy work...He prefers a more swinging and resonant network of pastel strokes! The Inquirer, Victoria Donohoe,(Philadelphia) June 2 1989
In Painterly realism, unlike Photographic realism, the brush strokes and tactile surfaces become important! Estelle Gross speaking about the work of Joe Sweeney. THE ILLUSTRATED, Palm Beach, Candyce H. Stapen, Regional Artists. Fall 1989, (Palm Beach)
Joe Sweeney’s Pastels,...Sparkling Impressionistic Images!
New York Times, Vivien Raynor, May 21 1989
Joe Sweeney ...He has a sharp eye for the beauty of nature, which he finds in quiet and tranquil scenes showing nature existing in deepest harmony with man. ARTFORUM , Ronny Cohen , Sept. 1989 (USA)
Sweeney whose pastels are particularly notable, convey the darkness and coldness of water, the bite of fresh air, the brilliance of sunlight, and an atmosphere that evokes youth, energy and clarity! The SUN ,John Dorsey, March 29, 1990,(Baltimore)
This quiet, orderly landscape still looks essentially as it did in the late 19th century. Placing himself within that “urban pastoral” tradition, Sweeney fortunately is no mere copycat. THE EVENING SUN, Mike Giuliano, March 29, 1990. (Baltimore)
His long, horizontal views of the Schuylkill and its boaters have garnered him critical acclaim, loyal buyers and placement in dozens of prestigious collections. Daily Local News, John Chambless, August 7, 1993 (West Chester)
The award for best of show was given to a truly exquisite pastel, "Jack's Mountain," by Joseph Sweeney. This picture of farmland in central Pennsylvania is a panoramic view (more than four feet wide) capturing the natural effect of early-morning light. Mr. Sweeney's carefully observed cloud-filled sky recalls those by' Constable in-his 19th- century English landscapes. The richly colored strokes of greens and blues with subtle touches of yellow appear as smooth as Bassett's ice cream. (Review of the Philadelphia Watercolor Club Works on Paper Show).
The New York Times, Sunday, October 18 1998 Fred B. Adelson
Joe Sweeney unostentatious landscape painter, follows his own expressive needs which in this case is contemporary realism. Sweeney show a deep receptivity to his source scene, yet manages not to end up with a reportorial look so much as an icon. The Philadelphia Inquirer, Sunday, July 18, 1999 Victoria Donohoe The Arts MD4
The Centre Daily Times
Posted on Fri, Aug. 23, 2002 Organized four years ago by nationally renowned painter Joseph Sweeney, the group is "dedicated to environmental education through the collaboration of the arts and sciences.” Eleven artists have contributed a total of 40 oils and pastels for the show, which is sponsored by the Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association. Easily the most commanding paintings in the exhibit are Sweeney's. His pastels, done on black paper for amazing color contrasts and variations, produce striking effects. This is especially apparent in "Flying Over." An astonishing aerial view of a river's edge, the scene is of boat docks, water shading from deep blue to slate, white houses and yellow-leafed treetops.