Surprised by Joy
MASSIMODECARLO Pièce Unique is delighted to present Surprised by Joy, Josh Smith’s fifth personal exhibition with the gallery, and first solo presentation at Pièce Unique.
Briming with energy, warmth and a sense of optimism, this large-scale work presents lingering figure-like presence between figuration and abstraction.
Working in series, Smith’s practice was first anchored in his “name paintings” begun in the 2000’s, spelling out the nine letters of his name in an infinite set of combinations, colors and formats. The palm trees, grim reapers and New York cityscapes series ensued, all harboring Smith's bold, relentless expressionistic brushstrokes.
Today, Smith returns to abstraction, sharing a newfound, albeit cautious sense of serenity. Taking a step back from the whirlwind of events that took the world by storm in the past two years, Smith explains, “it feels like we can now say that we are “OK”.
Being left-handed, Smith explains that his compositions are both a fight against and a will to embrace his tendency to orientate his images towards the left: Surprised by Joy thus seems to undulate from left to right, reflecting this push and pull that instinctively influences his painting process.
The paintings’ otherwise soft, organic shapes are framed only by the round geometric patterns that Smith only apposes to the canvas as a way to mark the conclusion of his paintings. The round dot pattern on the edge of the frame encloses the shapes within the canvas, like a signature to mark, literally and symbolically, the end of the work.