Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Hump Day Artist: Josh Smith

Today's Hump Day Artist is Josh Smith.  I first became aware of his work while I was at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.  Josh Smith had graduated from there, so he became a bit of a hero for all of us art students.  It was nice to know that one of us made it, and it gave us hope that we could too.  These paintings are not meant to be seen individually, but as part of a large body of work.  They are often shown stacked on top of each other, covering a gallery from floor to ceiling.  His paintings are repetitive, always the same size, and quickly done.  He adds collage to his paintings: street ads, print-outs of his other paintings, and ads for his own shows.  The paintings give you the sense that whatever happens to be lying around the studio is what made it into the painting.  The end result is not very important to Josh Smith, it's the production of the paintings that is important.  Here's a quote from an article he wrote for Artforum in 2009:

"The opposite of abstraction-or, to say it another way, its complementary color-is realism.  And realistic paintings are not that good.  I respect them, but from my point of view, they're pictures.  You look at a picture and you recognize what's in it, and the more than 50 percent of the joy is over-you're pretty much going downhill from there." (1000 Words, Josh Smith, Artforum, February 2009).

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