Shoot the Lobster is happy to announce an exhibition of new paintings by Joshua Smith.
Can a viewer of a painting now be moved beyond the history of painting itself to have an immediate and emotional reaction to a work in front of them? Can a feeling provoked within a viewer of a painting now supercede one’s intellectual response to it? Smith poses these questions, and with his paintings seeks to dramatize perception and problematize and delay the interpretive impulse.
Smith’s works have an immediacy that is achieved with built-in reductionist actions, and with one color of paint flatly applied to unprimed canvas there is little that exists to distract a viewer from the experience of looking at painted color. He maintains an optimism that these chromatic fields could bring a viewer to something like a transcendent state and a heightened feeling of one’s own presence and experience in the face of obdurate, unrevealing, and unsensationalist objects.
There is resolutely no reference to external theories or frameworks in the artist's pursuit and within the idiosyncratic logic of his formal choices. This lack of adherence to a source text separates his work from a strategy that much of contemporary painting has come to rely upon. What remains are paintings and viewers’ personal responses to them: the viewer as organizer vis-à-vis simple abstraction. Subjectivity within experience is paramount. And while the work is not art-ahistoric, and there cannot be ahistory, Smith does hope to dramatize the fact that we each have our own histories, our own dispositions.
Smith’s paintings interrelate and work cumulatively when shown in multiple, but it is important to him that each painting be regarded as a singular entity. He prefers to let the unique works have their own fate, and hopes that in time they be shown in alternative contexts. The point is that everything just is what it is to us now, and maybe later will be different, or maybe will stay the same, and either way we will have to deal with it, it could be that we’re happy with whatever comes about, or sad or pensive, but we will definitely, for sure, have to deal with it, and we’ll all deal with it differently.
Joshua Smith, born in Texas, raised in Michigan, lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Recent exhibitions include White Columns, Artists Space, Anton Kern Gallery, Nicole Klagsbrun, Art Production Fund, Clifton Benevento, John Connelly Presents, Eleven Rivington, and The Journal Gallery. Smith was co-founder of the itinerant group-show, Apartment Show, along with Denise Kupfershmidt.