Through paintings, collages, books, and ceramics, Josh Smith challenges the ideas of the artist. In forcing the painted image to be somewhat arbitrary, he has managed to take the act of painting beyond aesthetics. Smith’s early training in printmaking is often the spur which drives his art making. Many of his paintings start with the artist’s name or a fish or leaf motif as a point of departure, but they typically eschew formal representation in favor of an exploration of abstraction. Other works, such as his palette paintings, are purely abstract and explore the notion of composition created by chance. In his mixed media collages on plywood, subway maps, take-out menus, newspapers and street posters are combined with reproductions of Smith’s existing works as well as silk-screened text and original painting. Following in the tradition of artists such as Robert Rauschenberg and Dieter Roth, he intersperses the manufactured with the handmade and elevates found materials by virtue of inclusion. He makes art so he can look at it.
Born in 1976, Josh Smith is from Knoxville, Tennessee. He has had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad, most notably The American Dream at The Brant Foundation in Greenwich, CT in 2011, Who Am I at De Hallen Haarlem in 2009 and Hidden Darts at Museum Moderner Kunst in Vienna in 2008. He has also participated in several important group exhibitions, including The Painting Factory: Abstraction after Warhol at The Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, Le Printemps de Septembre in Toulouse, ILLUMInations in the 2011 Venice Biennale, The Generational: Younger Than Jesus at the New Museum in New York, Uncertain States of America at the Serpentine Gallery in London & Astrup Fearnley Museet in Oslo, the 2007 Lyon Biennial, and Wade Guyton, Seth Price, Josh Smith, Kelley Walker, at Kunsthalle Zürich. The artist lives and works in New York.