Josh Jefferson: The Big Ruckus
A Josh Jefferson painting announces itself with singular force: sweeping, expressionist, distilled to only that which is vital. Overlapping swirls of color layer on top of and around each other, immersing the viewer in a meditation on their creation. The visual complexity of each painting belies the relative restraint of Jefferson’s process, honed over years in the studio. Utilizing a deceptively narrow color palette and single custom-made brush, Jefferson has created a language of abstraction entirely his own. Each of these new paintings hums with gesture and luminescence, teeming with a vitality and drama that leaps off the canvas.
“This new body of work is the continuation of an ongoing series of paintings created with a custom-made brush - two 8 inch brushes drilled together - which I call the BIG BRUSH. This tool has enabled me to make big moves on the canvas quickly, distilling the process to only the necessary gestures. By limiting my practice to only the essential brushwork, this method trims the fat to reveal the soft underbelly of intention. This layering technique has taken me years to achieve, and my experience with these paintings has helped me gain emotional knowledge that if I am lucky to have imbued in this work, expressing meaning through the depth and layers of each painting.” - Josh Jefferson
Across drawings, collages, and paintings, Josh Jefferson creates improvisational, additive compositions that reside between figuration and abstraction. His paintings are known for fluid, wave-like brushstrokes and vibratory optical effects achieved through specific color combinations. Raised in California, where he was steeped in skateboarding and surf culture, Jefferson began making art in the 1990s. His eclectic approach has been compared to Barry McGee’s West Coast street art, though the artist has cited a range of influences, from Ken Price’s sculptures and outsider art to painters such as Edvard Munch, Cecily Brown, and Misaki Kawai. Jefferson was a BFA candidate at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and has shown in galleries in the U.S., Europe, and Asia.