Experience Josh George’s emotional narrative and love of bats at Ghostprint Gallery

by | Oct 3, 2014 | ART

Wallpaper, maps, stamps, ticket stubs, and whatever else Josh George finds lying around all make their way into his work conceptual, but architectural work.

Wallpaper, maps, stamps, ticket stubs, and whatever else Josh George finds lying around all make their way into his work conceptual, but architectural work.

He uses both acrylic and oil paint on wood panel, but what sets him apart is the wide array of collaged materials he incorporates to create fields of complex pattern and textures. Terming himself a “contemporary realist,” George says, “I use a little bit of everything. Whatever is available. I like the idea that you can make art out of anything.”

George is set to host his fifth solo exhibition at Ghostprint Gallery, entitled “Attroupement.” An opening reception for the artist is set for October 2.

Though George’s paintings usually depict either architecture or the figure, he brings architectural techniques to his figures by making them more angular.

Using harsh lines and creating complex undertones with pattern, George crafts mesmerizing figures with layers of complexity. His use of color is particularly striking; dark, rich colors are immediately recognizable as his own.

George’s pieces are somewhat playful, but seem to hint at something somber, making them feel somewhat enigmatic. His figures are oftentimes positioned in uncomfortable ways within the canvas, making them seem at odds with their domestic surroundings.

His rich palette and playful use of pattern, however, contrast this.

Though George is able to retain this underlying sense of mystery in his work, it does not feel heavy handed or pretentious in any way. His paintings come from a genuine place of revelry in his surroundings. “They are a reflection of all my interests,” said George describing where his work comes from. “Eating, drinking, and hanging out.”

George presents these seemingly colloquial themes into thought-provoking meditation on domesticity. The materials he collages reiterate human use and domesticity in that many of them are items that could be found in a house and usually discarded.

He mourns the loss of community surrounding food in modern America, citing fast food as evidence of how far removed we are from the ritual of sharing a meal and how fast paced our culture has become.

Lots of his paintings circulate around his experiences in Richmond as a city. His paintings are reactions to the environment around him, and many meditate on the architecture of Richmond and his experiences walking through the city.

One of the impactful things Richmond holds for George? Bats.

“I do a lot of bat paintings because I’m fascinated by them,” says George. “I never saw them until I moved to Richmond.”

George has included a few of these paintings in the upcoming show, saying they are some of his favorite pieces he’s ever worked on.

Another notable inclusion to the Ghostprint Gallery show is landscapes. Though George frequently paints metropolitan architecture, landscapes are new territory for him.

The exhibition does not have a defined theme like past exhibitions, but George says though it is not conceptually as focused, the show will be held together by purely aesthetic choices within the work. “I’m taking multiple subject matters and having the way that I make the pictures kind of hold them together by visual appearance,” says George.

George’s paintings have an emotional framework that is hard to match. His portraits contain dynamic characters, whose posture, facial expressions, and orientation within their surroundings work together to draw the viewer into their lives and the work. George says, “I think there’s always a loose narrative going on; not always a specific story. There’s an emotional narrative.”

Josh George’s work will be on display in Ghostprint Gallery through November 5.

Calyssa Kremer

Calyssa Kremer

Calyssa Kremer graduated from VCU with a double major in Art History and Painting and Printmaking. She currently lives and works in Richmond, Virginia.

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