Josh Smith: Abstraction

Interview with the artist by Sophie Aschauer

The work of American artist Josh Smith focuses on themes authenticity and authorship. His paintings, collages, artist books and installations encircle the central myths of modern painting, and connect subjectivities to the exterior world. Josh Smith first became known for his “Name Paintings”, in which his everyman name functions as a pictorial motif for variations—of the painting and signature in one.  This publication presents, in two volumes, the artist’s “Abstract Paintings” next to his “Palette Paintings”. Two concepts, two themes, two books: on the one hand, archetypes of abstract-expressionist paintings with airy compositions in lively colors; on the other, canvases onto which Smith squeezes out his paintbrush, with the straightforward aesthetic of simple forms. Both books show how serious reflection can emerge from an aggressive-ironic approach. And how abstract art can emerge out of the ideal, without the need for pathos, artistic genius or over-appreciation of the individual painting. The additional text booklet contains an interview with Sophie Aschauer that broaches these questions, alongside installation views and the “Announcement Paintings” made for Abstraction.


Publisher: Holzwarth Publications

Artists: Josh Smith

Publication Date: 2007

Binding: Three softcover volumes in slipcase

Dimensions: 10 3/4 x 9 1/2 in | 27.5 x 34 cm

Pages: 128, 120, and 32

Reproductions: 142 color

ISBN: 9783935567442

Retail: $55

Status: Not Available

Josh Smith

Josh Smith is a New York-based painter who also works with collage, sculpture, printmaking, and books. He first became known in the early 2000s for a series of canvases depicting his own name, a motif that allowed him to experiment freely with abstraction and figuration and the expressive possibilities of painting. His work has since given way to monochromes, gestural abstractions, and varied imagery, including leaves, fish, skeletons, sunsets, and palm trees that the artist has explored in series. Smith’s work engages in a celebratory and prolific process of experimentation and refinement—upending the conventions of painting while simultaneously commanding a deep awareness of its history.

All Josh Smith books