b. 1976 Okinawa, Japan
Through his messy and exuberant paintings and collages, Josh Smith conveys a wry humor and knowingly engages with art historical precedents. Smith first became known for his expressionistic canvases featuring various configurations of the letters of his own name, which synthesized the serialized production strategies of conceptual art with the impassioned gestural abstraction of the Neo-Expressionists and the ironic self-aggrandizement of Andy Warhol. More recently, Smith has been producing a sprawling series of large collages, now numbering in the hundreds, that incorporate newspapers, found posters, ink jet prints, and even woodblock printed advertisements from his past shows. These works take up the legacies of conceptual painters like the American Christopher Wool and the Cologne-based Albert Oehlen: both of whom, in the 1980s, re-imagined abstraction as a series of found forms and appropriated motifs. Cave paintings for a digital era, Smith's collages push traditional abstraction to the limits of over inflation.