Josh Sperling

'What a Relief'

Free-wheeling squiggles and joyful jigsaw composites adorn the SCAD Museum of Art lobby and the building’s exterior Jewel Box vitrines in this two-part solo exhibition by Josh Sperling. The artist’s shaped paintings bring his doodles into three dimensions in stretched canvas over intricate plywood supports, with uniform applications of wild, expressive color.

What a Relief celebrates SCAD MOA’s recent permanent collection acquisition of Sperling’s Untitled (2021), a jaunty, Memphis Milano–style abstraction of complex interlocking canvases. The work is joined by other recent forms, executed in jubilant, energetic geometries. Sperling also premieres his most significant foray into furniture design, placing new benches in the lobby space. Created in response to the museum’s architectural features, the benches reimagine the artist’s iconic wall-mounted pieces into functional areas of respite.

signature image for Josh Sperling exhibition
Josh Sperling, "Untitled," 2021, acrylic on canvas, 73 5/8 x 54 3/8 in. SCAD Museum of Art Permanent Collection, gift of Harry Tawil. Courtesy of Perrotin. Photo by Farzad Owrang.

In the SCAD MOA Jewel Boxes, Sperling presents four new works in contrasting hues of blue and red. Deceptively simple icons of both quotidian symbols and the artist’s own visual vocabulary, the works subtly reveal their intricate three-dimensional structure only upon further observation.

About the artist

Josh Sperling (b. 1984, Oneonta, N.Y.) draws on the language of minimalist painting from the 1960s and 1970s, primarily working with shaped canvases. He crafts intricate plywood supports over which canvas is stretched and painted in a signature palette of saturated, sometimes clashing colors. In their three-dimensionality, Sperling’s works blur the lines between painting and sculpture, image and object. Mining a wide range of sources, from design to art history, Sperling has honed a unique visual vocabulary remarkable for its expressive quality and irrepressible energy. The artist has presented solo exhibitions internationally. His work is held in the collections of Arsenal Contemporary Art, Montreal; Fondation Louis Vuitton, Paris; the Rockbund Art Museum, Shanghai; and the SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, Ga.

Credits

What a Relief is organized by SCAD Museum of Art curator Ben Tollefson and presented as part of SCAD deFINE ART 2023.

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