Luhring Augustine is exhibiting the new paintings and ceramics of Josh Smith. His fourth exhibition with the gallery, the show will be presented with two presentations, one on view at the gallery’s Chelsea location and the other on view at their Bushwick location.
The work of Josh Smith is distinguished by his mastery of multiple mediums (including painting, collage, sculpture, book and printmaking, and ceramics), his tireless production, and his tendency to acknowledge trends in painting and sculpture by expressly upending them. His most iconic works are paintings that boldly feature his name as their subject; in recent years, the name has given way to motifs such as leaves, fish, skeletons, insects, ghosts, and sunsets. In selecting these rather arbitrary subjects and rendering them in a manner that is by turns aggressive, playful, repetitive, and oblique, Smith compels us to move beyond aesthetics towards a focus on process and looking.
Not only is Josh Smith’s practice central to his generation's discourse on painting: His practice is also guided by certain parameters such as the persistent evidence of his hand, the regular sizing and serial nature of his work, and the use of diverse techniques, many of which are borne out of his training in printmaking. Spurred by that training in printmaking, he challenges the romantic mythology of the artist by creating mixed-media compositions that combine the handmade with manufactured and found objects to examine the value of originality versus facsimile. "Painting is like talking for me," Smith says. "It is how I communicate."The element of chance is also important, and Smith welcomes mistakes in his art of both the digital and analog variety. He strives to experiment constantly, but also to refine existing ideas, hence his prolific output is fundamental to his process. It not only reflects his inclination to think through his art, but also to challenge traditional notions of originality and authenticity. One of the most groundbreaking artists working today, Smith continues to test the rules of artistic convention and expand the language of contemporary art.
Furthermore, his paintings often communicate immediacy, speaking directly to the viewer and forcing interaction while forgoing formal representation and traditional technique in order to explore abstraction and composition. Though he has built a "bad boy" reputation among indie film and fashion types with his seemingly messy looking paintings, collages, book projects, and sculpture, his work is also seen as intensely emotional and sophisticated in the art world and has attracted important collectors and museums. Ultimately, many of Smith’s chosen motifs eschew formal representation toward an exploration of abstraction. Other works, such as his palette paintings, are purely abstract and explore notions 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 the “Combines” of Robert Rauschenberg (1925 – 2008) and the “Multiples” and “96 Picadillies” of Dieter Roth (1930 – 1998), Smith intersperses the manufactured with the handmade and elevates found materials by virtue of inclusion. He makes art so he can look at it.
Josh Smith (b. 1976) is from Knoxville, Tennessee and lives and works between Pennsylvania and New York. He has had several solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad, most notably The American Dream at The Brant Foundation in Greenwich, CT in 2011, Josh Smith at the Centre d'Art Contemporain Genève in 2009, Who Am I at De Hallen Haarlem in 2009, and Hidden Darts at MUMOK in Vienna in 2008. He has also participated in important group exhibitions such as The Painting Factory: Abstraction after Warhol at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, Le Printemps de Septembre in Toulouse, ILLUMInations in the 2011 Venice Biennale, and The Generational: Younger Than Jesus at the New Museum in New York. His works are in numerous public collections including the Centre Pompidou, Paris, MUMOK, Vienna, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, and the Museum of Modern Art, New York.
Through October 19, 2013, Chelsea (October 26, 2013, Bushwick)
531 West 24th Street, NYC 10011
25 Knickerbocker Ave, Brooklyn 11237