Josh Smith is an artist whose practice is central to his generation's discourse on painting. Driven by early training in printmaking, Smith challenges the romantic mythology of the artist by creating mixed-media compositions that combine the handmade with manufactured and found objects to examine the value of originality versus facsimile. "Painting is like talking for me," Smith says. "It is how I communicate."
What his paintings often communicate is immediacy, speaking directly to the viewer and forcing interaction. His paintings forgo formal representation and traditional technique in order to explore abstraction and composition. Though he has built a "bad boy" reputation among indie film and fashion types with his seemingly messy looking paintings, collages, book projects, and sculpture, his work is also seen as intensely emotional and sophisticated in the art world and has attracted important collectors and museums.