Milan / March 28 —May 17, 2014
Massimo De Carlo presents Unsolved Mystery, a new solo exhibition by Josh Smith. Josh Smith comes back to Milan at Massimo De Carlo’s gallery for his third show with a series of new paintings and a body of ceramic sculptures: Josh Smith’s work is a reflection on the practice of painting, on the role of the artist and on the meaning of the artwork itself. It investigates both the concepts of authenticity and seriality with an obsessive repetition of themes, forms and colors.
The paintings in Unsolved Mystery, located in all the gallery's rooms, have a very common and yet very exotic element as a main subject: the palm tree. Through thick strokes of paint in bright colors, Josh Smith conceives bizarre landscapes, romantic sunsets and silent sunrises in which the representation of the chosen element becomes just an excuse. Josh Smith’s works are in fact abstract paintings where the natural elements are just familiar symbols of common icons, images that are visible and recognizable everywhere, on postcards, in central streets all over the world, in shops windows, even on ties. The palm tree is a sign, a pattern to be reproduced to infinity as a way to fasten the gesture of the artist to the canvas.
The second room of the gallery presents a series of shelves with a number of small pottery sculptures. Bizarre artifacts, these objects are ruins of domestic items: leaves, ghosts, aluminium cans, and plastic bottles are all reproduced in ceramic and represent Josh Smith’s hypertrophic domestic approach.
Using the most various objects, from painting to graphic, from collage to ceramic, from book to installation, Josh Smith investigates the originality and reproducibility of the artwork: his works construct an intimate and yet universal path and they are always in constant dialogue one with the other. Seriality and linearity of forms and dimensions, the nagging repetition of decorative models, the use of disparate techniques, always inside the edges of classical patterns, chance and mistakes are the guidelines of Josh Smith’s work and the themes that define his world.
Josh Smith's work's evolution brought him to include into his abstract canvases decorative motifs such as leaves, fishes, insects, skeletons, ghosts and sunsets. From the Name Paintings to the monochromes, Josh Smith pushes the public to overstep the aesthetic result of the artist product, and to focus their attention on the artist process.
Josh Smith was born in Okinawa in Japan in 1976; he grew up in Tennessee and he lives and works in New York. His works have been exhibited in solo exhibitions such as The American Dream, The Brant Foundation, Greenwich (2011); Josh Smith, Centre d’Art Contemporain Gèneve, Ginevra (2009); Josh Smith Books, Printed Matter, New York (2009); Hidden Darts, MUMOK Museums Quartier, Vienna (2008); Sculpture Center, New York (2005). Josh Smith took part in group exhibitions in important institutions worldwide such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Firstsite, Colchester; MOCA The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; the Palais de Tokyo, Paris; The State Hermitage Museum, San Petersburg; the Royal Academy of Arts, London; the Astrup Fearnley Museum of Modern Art, Oslo. In 2011 he took part also in the Venice Biennial.