Josh Sperling


05.09.19 → 21.10.19

Sorry We're Closed is very happy to present Josh Sperling's first solo exhibition in Belgium


Sperling builds his practice around a long-lasting fascination with color. The use of color is not only an aspect he feels to be heavily influenced by other artists' works, prominently from a 1960's and 1970's minimalist painterly tradition, as it also takes on a role of starting point in his own creative process. Sperling will deliberately select colors that initially seem incompatible and then proceeds to challenge himself to harmonize and balance them through form and configuration. These crafted canvases, which he designates as "composites", are singularly juxtaposed so as to create a simplified and unified whole that manages to successfully justify the aberrant color scheme.


Every piece is virtually preconceived and is subsequently materialized as vivid and uniformly colored canvases that are tightly stretched on meticulously crafted plywood structures. The different "composites" are then assembled so as to create a semi-sculptural outcome that lingers on the boundaries between painting and sculpture; the sinuous and structural reliefs of the crafted canvas softly pull Sperling's pieces away from the wall and sets foot in objecthood territory, while the striking opaque color contrasts have an opposite flattening effect, drawing the pieces closer to the realm of two-dimensional imagery.


Sperling's use of software to initially design the pieces seemingly goes beyond practical concerns as it can also be seen as extending into certain aesthetic qualities of their final and material form. Aspects in the coloration and shape of Sperling's semi-sculptural pieces establish a strong connection with the visual culture of an early internet era. Notably, the parallel wood ridges that underly and articulate some more linear composites are equally spaced out and of gradual height so as to create balanced, horizontal slopes. This ultimately provides the work with a systemic, mathematical quality, and eventually leads us to associate the patterned sculptural effect to a soft and enlarged pixelization.


Overall Sperling's work offers a dynamic interplay between a series of visual dichotomies, celebrating tensions between mechanical systems and organic shapes or between two-dimensional and three-dimensional renderings. His work moreover serves as a playful and rejuvenating response to the legacy of certain predecessors in the tradition of shaped canvas, namely that of Frank Stella and Ellsworthy Kelly.


Josh Sperling (b. 1984) lives and works in Ithaca, NY, USA.  He has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions worldwide as Retrospective Gallery, Hudson, NY,  Bill Brady, Miami and Emmanuel Perrotin , Paris,  Seoul, New York and Tokyo.

Selected Images