Galerie Eva Presenhuber is delighted to announce its second solo show of Josh Smith (b.1976) in its Maag Areal gallery. This show will present a wide array of Smith’s painterly evolution, ranging in different sizes, techniques and motifs.
Josh Smith has come to public recognition through his instantly identifiable abstract style, from his Name Paintings to his collages and his favoured motifs such as the fish or the leaf. The idea behind these recurring motifs is to achieve an impenetrable abstraction, yet an abstraction that makes its methods clear and reveals its making. The urgency felt in the paintings is actually a cover for a long thought process, for a careful and meticulous selection in which the brushstrokes, the collaged elements are brought together to form an image. The elements of the paintings put together quickly, sometimes painted directly onto walls confront us with wrongful common visions of preciousness towards art and even more so towards painting as a practice. In this exhibition, Smith will show his new body of work and particularly a large grid of 15 paintings, displayed together to present as one painting, it is in fact a collage of all different paintings that are worked on separately.
Smith comes from a background of print-making and is fascinated with producing books, the idea of repetition being at the core of these practices, they find their ways in his visual aesthetics. Painting his name repeatedly, or an abstraction of a leaf or a fish helps the viewer to get away from the object itself, not focusing on how it is rendered but rather on how it is painted. Cleaved away from the signification of what is depicted, the lines and curves, the palette become the subject of his work. The repetition of his own work within his oeuvre is linked to the fact that nothing goes to waste in Smith’s studio, posters, prints and papers of all sorts are recycled and incoporated into collages and paintings, old announcement posters become the basis for new announcement paintings, older paintings are reprinted, glued and repainted.
Josh Smith has managed to overcome the challenges of painting, incoporating disparate elements whilst creating a unique style, constantly reinventing himself. He is a master of colour and composition and in this new show, he displays works creating self entities that are coherent with each other. It is undeniable that it is in this eternal quest for abstraction that lies Smith’s ambitious side, his self-confidence to pursue new directions, and this quest reveals his audacity and brashness.
Josh Smith has had solo exhibitions at the Brant Foundation, CT, USA, Museum Dhondt-Dhanenens in Deurle, Belgium, Centre d'Art Contemporain in Geneva, Switzerland, amongst others and has participated in the 54th Venice Biennale, and other important group shows such as Younger Than Jesus in the New Museum, NY, USA.