Josh Smith – Untitled (2008)

plus applicable taxes

plus applicable taxes

152 x 121.5 cm
60 x 47 7/8 in
Oil, acrylic, printed paper and cardboard collage on foam-backed panel

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    Phillip's Thoughts

    This piece from ArtForum in February 2009 describes the process behind Smith’s collage works, a beautiful example of which is exhibited here. Smith, ‘not only paints but presses, blots, laser-prints, glues, scans, photographs. Many of his new collage works are processed onto stacks and stacks of plywood boards. He rotates through these supports as if they were spools of data, amending them with his adhesions and inscriptions (he even inserts blank boards to enforce a mental pause). Sometimes the boards stick to one another, victims of their acquired residues; peeling them apart, the artist occasionally tears holes in the collage’s surface layers, which he will simply leave and smooth down with the next round of glue. Such visual subtractions echo his iconic leaf’s own gaps. They remind us of the loss entailed in every reproduction, even in every glance—and of the way in which, now, the camera-eye is our eye, and to figure is to capture. As Smith says, “Rather than take a picture . . . , I just take it.” This is why his images can collapse different resolutions and levels of sharpness, a collapse enacted each time the jagged contours of digitized blowups abut the comparatively high-res print of appropriated newspapers or the actual edges of torn paper. Or why they often present an insistently central shape, centrifugally contained by the framing edge, as if resisting dispersal by the lattice of pages it rests on. Within these tableaux, the serrated, pixelated perimeter or the gridded brushstroke looks normal and coherent. You take what you can get.”

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