VSF is pleased to present for the 2017 Art Basel Hong Kong Positions sector a composed presentation of new paintings and sculptures by Los Angeles based artist Joshua Nathanson. This will be the artist’s first solo presentation in Hong Kong featuring his newest series of “Airport Paintings” as well the world debut of his sculpture practice. Most recently, Nathanson has had solo exhibitions at Takashi Murakami’s gallery Kaikai Kiki, Tokyo; Luce Gallery, Turin, Italy; and Various Small Fires, Los Angeles. Nathanson has been included in group exhibitions at ARNDT Singapore; 356 Mission Rd, Los Angeles; and Hester, New York; as well as major museum exhibitions at The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, The Whitechapel Gallery, London and the Yokohama Museum of Art, Japan. His paintings are in the permanent collections of The Los Angeles County Museum of Art and The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago.
Inspired by the frenetic crowds of James Ensor, the charismatic color combinations of Henri Matisse, the cartoonish mischievousness of Philip Guston, and the backlit aesthetics of digital drawing software, Nathanson’s paintings reinvent the historical genre of scene painting by disorienting public and visual space with playfully dissonant representations of contemporary leisure and consumption. Nathanson begins his image making process with live, plein-air iPad sketches of friends at leisure in public spaces such as beaches, shopping malls and most recently inside the international terminals of the main international airport of Los Angeles, LAX. In the studio, Nathanson uses imaging software, photography, and inkjet printers to create anywhere between 30-40 sketches for each painting. The digital studies become the basis for hand painted works on canvas which mimic the digital textures and colors of the studies, executed with methods including acrylic brush painting, airbrushing, and drawing with oil sticks home made by the artist on his kitchen stove.
Nathanson’s process, which repeatedly re shuffles between digital and traditional painting technologies, reflects a schizophrenia inherent to contemporary image production and reproduction. In conversation with Nathanson’s new “Airport Paintings” will be a larger-than-life, free standing fiberglass sculpture, finished with Nathanson’s digital screen-inspired colors. In addition, Nathanson will hand-paint a mural backdrop over the booth’s walls, completing the exuberant cacophony and contraperspectival composition like that of his paintings.