Joshua Nathanson: Yeah, I Know What You Mean

It is the gallery’s distinct pleasure to present Yeah, I Know What You Mean, a solo presentation of new work by Joshua Nathanson. In the Los Angeles artist’s fourth exhibition with VSF, Nathanson portrays scenes of the everyday through a lens that bridges art history to contemporary modes of making.


In his new paintings, Nathanson looks to the early Modern masters from movements including Post-Impressionism and Surrealism. These artists’ radical takes on representing the world around them provide a deep pool of intrigue from which to draw inspiration, often constructing ambiguous spaces between figuration and abstraction. A century later, Nathanson embraces digital processes to capture a similar ambiguity. He utilizes artificial intelligence to compile a wide variety of reference materials and generate a fantasy world occupied by strawberry people and frogs in the kitchen. Commonplace scenes, like a day at the beach or a dog in bed, morph into vivid displays of color, pattern, and shape.


Despite their digital origin, Nathanson’s canvases remain firmly planted in the tradition of painting. Oil paint remarkably captures the subtleties of electronic interfaces, utilizing classic techniques to render light and form that are wise to borrow from artistic predecessors like Seurat and Bonnard. The resulting works contain a magical sensibility akin to memories or a dream, rewarding viewers with endless opportunities to investigate and interpret. 



Joshua Nathanson (b. 1976, Washington, D.C., lives and works in Los Angeles, California) received a BFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and an MFA from Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, California. He has held solo exhibitions at Van Doren Waxter, New York; Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China; Downs and Ross, New York; Kaikai Kiki Gallery, Tokyo, Japan; Luce Gallery, Turin, Italy; and at Various Small Fires, Los Angeles / Dallas / Seoul. Recent group exhibitions include Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China; Cooper Design Center, Los Angeles, CA; Tif Sigfrids Gallery, Los Angeles; Van Doren Waxter, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Whitechapel Gallery, London; Yokohama Museum, Yokohama, Japan; ARNDT, Gillman Barracks, Singapore; and 356 S. Mission, Los Angeles. Nathanson’s work is part of the permanent collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art; the Albertina Museum, Vienna; the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego, CA; the Yuz Museum, Shanghai, China; and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Illinois.