Artist Josh Sperling’s current exhibition of shaped paintings is on view at Perrotin in New York. Open through June 11th, “Daydream” pushes the possibilities of precision, color, and curiosity through multiple series of joyful works.
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Josh Sperling paintings on canvas combine an obsession for color selection with the precision of a CNC router. Each painting feels too perfect to be human but too human to be a computer. All colors are chosen by eye under the natural light of Sperling’s barn in Ithica, New York. Beyond the magic of each individual work, the entire exhibition is perfectly ordered across three floors for a total visual experience worth visiting in real life.
Measuring over 57-feet across, the looping red “To Be Titled, 2022” anchors the first floor. The expansive room holds multiple monochrome works with forms that seem to defy the properties of canvas. Like mathematical knots that overlap and loop endlessly, the first room invites you to leave your preconceptions of painting at the door.
Walking up to the second floor, “Daydream” is a rainbow gradation of color and shape that envelopes all 3 walls. The work feels like a massive jigsaw puzzle of frozen single-cell organisms – unpredictable but perfectly fitting. Though the work doesn’t move, it’s impossible to stand still as your own eyes animate the walls.
An adjacent room on the second floor offers a different energy. A series of wavy squares of radiating color resemble Joseph Albers paintings on drugs. Each work invites prolonged examination and consideration of unique color transitions while the three-dimensional surfaces ground these aura-like colors in a strong physical reality.
Finally the high ceilings and central skylight of the 3rd floor are the perfect setting for the most colorful and energetic paintings in the gallery. Sperling’s signature worm-like forms now dance within compacted overlapping freeform shapes.
“Jamboree, 2022” (above right) measures 22 feet across and contains areas of texture that look as if two layers of paint have been carved or chipped to reveal both colors. From a distance, these sections appear like the translucent overlapping of colorful two-dimensional shapes.
For a glimpse into Sperling’s philosophy, process, and preparation for the exhibition, Perrotin produced a short video (below) that invites you into the artist’s studio and daily practice.
Installation images photographed by Guillaume Ziccarelli, single works photographed by Farzad Owrang. All images courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.