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EXHIBITIONS

Josh Smith “24 Hours” at Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

Josh Smith has come to public recognition through his instantly identifiable abstract style, from his Name Paintings to his collages and favoured motifs such as the fish or the leaf. The idea behind these recurring motifs is to achieve an impenetrable abstraction that at the same time reveals its method and its making. The urgency felt in the paintings actually disguises a long thought process, a careful and meticulous selection in which brushstrokes and collage elements are brought together to form an image.

Swiftly put together, sometimes painted directly onto walls, the elements of the paintings confront us with mistaken but common perceptions of art as something precious and even more so of painting as a practice. In this exhibition, Smith will show his new body of work. A special highlight is a large grid of fourteen paintings displayed together as one painting although it is in fact a collage of different paintings produced separately.

Josh Smith comes from a background of printmaking and is fascinated with producing books, which is how the idea of repetition at the core of these practices has found its way into his visual aesthetics. Paintings featuring repetitions of his name or abstractions of leaves or fish help viewers 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 incorporated 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, incorporating 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 autonomous entities that are coherent with each other. It is undeniably in this eternal quest for abstraction that Smith’s ambitious side lies, his self-confident pursuit of new directions, and this quest reveals his audacity and brashness.

at Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

until 9 March 2013

Above – Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Untitled, 2012

Josh Smith, “24 Hours”, exhibition views, 2013. © the artist. Courtesy: Galerie Eva Presenhuber, Zurich

Photos: Stefan Altenburger Photography, Zurich

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