03/23/2012 02:56 pm ET

Joe Brainard's "Painting The Way I Wish I Could Talk" (PHOTOS)

Joe Brainard was born in Salem, Arkansas and moved to New York City shortly after high school. He then immersed himself with the New York School, an artistic circle of poets, artists and musicians that were characterized by their lightness, sharp humor and cosmopolitan sensibility.

Brainard composed collages, paintings, watercolors and assemblages that are sweet as can be with a hint of a wry twist. Yet any sort of irony is overpowered by a lighthearted affection for the smallest little joys, from a cherry to a cigarette. His works themselves are physically very small, most around the size of a large index card. His pieces embody the feeling of the small unexpected surprises that make daily, urban life delightful. The humble assemblages are like visual versions of Frank O'Hara's poetry -- Brainard happened to be close friends with the poet, and was influenced by his work. Brainard's understated works show a deep affection for shallow treasures.

Brainard's collection "Painting the way I wish I could talk" will show at Tibor de Nagy Gallery in New York until April 21.

Get a taste of Brainard's sweet works below:

joe brainard