Joshua Marsh: What hangs before us

Joshua Marsh, “Bedside”, 2010, oil on panel, 30 x 35″

Joshua Marsh, “Chair”, 2010, oil on panel, 50 x 32″
Joshua Marsh,  “Mirror”, 2010, oil on panel, 35 x 30″
Joshua Marsh, “Pitcher (pink)”, 2009, oil on panel, 8 x 11″
Joshua Marsh,”Pitcher”, 2010, oil on panel, 18 x 24″

Recently I’ve been training myself to pay more attention to my physical surroundings rather than bury myself in thought. That is, to register how the sun falls through the morning glory, how the signpost intersects with the pavement, how the linked-chain pools in a pile on the pavement. This week at  Jeff Bailey I saw “Ten Things,” Joshua Marsh’s first solo exhibition, which reminded me how powerful simply looking can be. “What do we see when we look at these pictures?” Geoffrey Young asks in the diminutive catalogue’s essay. “Can we listen-in on the conversation between color and form, between representation and abstraction? Between sensation and thought? Marsh starts with things observed things, then submits his chosen motifs to a willful destabilization by formal means. Color is his trump card; it can all but overwhelm, as light does abrupt things in his pictures. But shape is no less a protagonist, as crucial to the structure of each picture as any voice in the harmonic mix….

“Marsh walks a fine line, not quite sacrificing the thing, not quite losing the setting, not quite abandoning conditions. No. He weaves these elements, a composer as sensitive to evanescence as he is to material fact. If his paintings resist standard-issue readings of still-life, it is because his subject is the light in the mind when all our faculties are humming in the service of understanding what hangs before us. Theatrical as divas, though less easy to hear, Marsh’s paintings talk to us in the light of an advanced phase of cognition.”

FREE STUFF: If readers would like the extra catalogue I received, send me a note (twocoatsofpaint {at} gmail.com) telling why you would like it. Include a mailing address and I’ll select a winner early next week.

Joshua Marsh: Ten Things,” Jeff Bailey, New York, NY. Through October 9, 2010.

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