In his latest body of work There is no other, Josh Simpson uses a central motif of masking as a veil between enhancing reality and actuality.
Through a variety of paint handling he positions the painted surface as a façade; a threshold between self and other. This application creates a fractured collage effect where abstract forms obscure figurative space and pockets of landscape tease the viewer with visual tropes and clichés.
The work parallels social media where identities are edited, airbrushed and assembled. Simpson reveals a surreal interpretation of this confluence between self and other that can never be truly unmasked.
In the work, forms are hard edged, gesturally rendered and abruptly layered. Youthful figures are cropped, dislocated and objectified. On the surface colours are shifting and glowing. The altered hue and saturation of the everyday appears otherworldly. The influence of technology on identity reconstruction is echoed in the works’ digital aesthetic and ruptured surface. The contradictory nature of this threshold throws up a purgatory, utopia or refuge – a place where authentic and inauthentic, self and otherness collide.
Josh Simpson holds a BFA (Honours) with the University of Tasmania. In 2015 he was selected for the Agendo, Lloyd Rees and Morton Bay art prizes. This year Simpson is a recipient of the Ne Na Contemporary Art Space artist in residency program (Thailand) and is involved in projects with Mountain Seas Arts (Flinders Island) and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA).