130 Orchard Street
New York, NY 10002
Tuesday – Saturday
10am – 6 pm
Opening Thursday, April 28, 12 – 8pm
April 28 — June 11, 2022
Perrotin is pleased to present Daydream, a solo exhibition by artist Josh Sperling, organized across three floors of the gallery’s New York space, and on view April 28th through June 11th. The exhibition, Sperling’s largest, marks a return to key motifs in the artist’s practice, developed over the course of the last decade and re-articulated by Sperling in this new body of work. Additionally, in Daydream, the Ithaca-based painter will debut a new series,continuing his investigation into the material possibilities of color and form.
The following essay was authored by writer and critic Max Lakin after visiting Sperling’s studio in Ithaca, New York.
Taped to a small refrigerator in the back of Josh Sperling’s studio in Ithaca, New York is a curling piece of office paper printed with seven bulleted lines of plain type that detail, in the flattest possible terms, how to understand color:
• Hue is color
• Chroma is the purity of a color
• Saturation is how strong or weak a color is
• Value is how light or dark a color is
• Tone is a hue combined with gray
• Shade is a hue combined with black
• Tint is a hue combined with white
These rules are immutable and rigorous, but also there’s something clarifying and non-negotiably true about them, which is what a Josh Sperling work is like, too. Color is important to Josh, and he’s obsessive about it. That’s clear from just a few minutes with him, before you learn that his studio has developed 1,200 proprietary blends of paint, and before you see a good percentage of them, in the form of little pots of finely tuned burnt umber and cadmium red and manganese blue that colonize the floors and figure into the finished paintings, which are deeply saturated and uniformly immaculate. Looking at one of Josh’s
paintings is also like being submerged in it, each construction a warm bath of azure or malachite or cerise, each one a fully formed world.
Josh is also interested in shapes. His paintings don’t look like paintings, exactly. They curl and wend and spiral. They shimmy up the wall and slide across it, possibly in a corkscrew, or maybe a segment of sine curve. They don’t really do this, of course, because they’re securely fixed in space and strictly mapped, yet they manage a kind of uncanny movement, vibrating like beveled moray eels. His built-up canvases, stretched over precision-cut plywood supports that radiate outward, like the rings of a tree, protrude from the wall in limitless permutations, so that the picture plane not only extends into space, it makes space part of the deal. There’s a sense of freedom about them that’s totally hypnotic.
Many artists have been credited with liberating the picture from the canvas, but Josh’s feel like a jailbreak, like he’s hooked his truck to the stretcher bars of a painting and floored it, busting apart the whole thing, making something new with the parts. The astrophysicist Carl Sagan, another Ithaca resident, said “If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.” Josh seems to have taken the advice.