Joshua Meyer

Rustle, Sparkle, Flutter, Float
November 6 — December 7, 2013

Wingspan, 2013 I Oil on canvas I 46 x 120 inches
Wingspan, 2013 I Oil on canvas I 46 x 120 inches

Dolby Chadwick Gallery is pleased to announce Rustle, Sparkle, Flutter, Float, an exhibition of new work by Joshua Meyer, on view November 7–December 7, 2013. Although Meyer paints from reality, his paintings thwart the notion that there can be any such thing as objective reality. Instead, the figures and forms he chooses reveal the world as filtered through the complex network of thoughts, feelings, experiences, and impressions that constitute his singular vantage point. Reflecting on Giorgio Morandi, Meyer sheds light on his own practice: “he paints only from reality and only about reality, yet it always seems obvious that he doesn’t trust the facts. And yet his job is to show us the world as he sees it. Art is what we measure ourselves against.”

Unburdened by premeditated processes and overarching themes, Meyer’s paintings instead achieve cohesion through their tendency to “talk among themselves, and occasionally conspire.” One unifying line of inquiry taken up across the works concerns the role of ambiguity and uncertainty in our lives. “I am more and more immersed in the fragility of all of the truths and ideas we hold dear,” Meyer explains, alluding to the tenuousness of knowledge and the swiftness with which our understandings about the world, others, and ourselves can dissipate. This constant making and remaking of the real is undergirded by his remarkable ability to implicate the viewer in the creative process. As each composition’s single, central figure dematerializes from a dense nest of brushstrokes into a pictorial space on the edge of abstraction, the audience is invited to play an active role in reconstructing the progressively open images. 

Meyer’s paintings expose and conceal, excite shifts in perspective, and allow understandings to emerge over time. As the viewer’s eyes pass across Undergrowth (2013), for example, the form of a young boy lying on his stomach—hands propping up his head and gaze fixed on something unknown—is offered up and then quickly folded back into the dynamic, heavily impastoed surface. Subjectivity, for Meyer, is inescapable, and our grasp of the world is predicated on the capricious web of connections through which we move.

As modeling is an intense and time-consuming activity, Meyer’s figures are based on a small, rotating cast of friends and family members. In recent years, two of his children have made routine visits to their father’s studio. Because these young models are at a stage of accelerated physical and mental development, the resulting paintings consequently embrace notions of growth and transition. The young boy in Undergrowth, for instance, is set within a field of greens, yellows, and browns; as indexes of leaves and botanical life more broadly, the markings reinforce the cognate cycle of human maturation and, ultimately, instability and impermanence. Such concerns complement the larger epistemological concerns that ground Meyer’s entire practice.

Joshua Meyer was born in 1974 in Lubbock, TX. He currently lives and works in Cambridge, MA. He earned his BA from Yale University in 1996 and has since exhibited across the United States, Asia and Europe. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a prestigious Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant in 2008 and a grant from the San Francisco-based Sustainable Arts Foundation in 2011. This will be Meyer’s third solo exhibition at the Dolby Chadwick Gallery. A catalog will be published on the occasion of the show and available through the Gallery.