Friday, August 15, 2014


Rooster, 2012
Acrylic, Wood, Flocking, Poly Resin re-post of article 

Many artists stay in their studios, producing a bit of art and showing a little here or there. Other artists are wild self-promoters with little regard for what they take from others. There are the Sunday painters, the friend promoters, the international stars, and various other categories in between. But there is a distinctive breed of artists that seek a wider audience through focused engagement. This breed creates an inclusive atmosphere or an event in order to promote a greater local art scene, while maintaining a good studio discipline. Artist Joshua King fits this last category.

I first encountered Joshua King’s work in Austin during the city’s East Studio Tour. I was struck blindsided by his objects. They looked like he had pink powdercoated found objects. When I asked King about it, he called the process flocking. King’s sculptures were some of the most memorable pieces in that show, and this was two years ago. I remember that I first was repulsed and attracted to the surface of his pieces. I’d never seen a sculpture that attracted me to touch it while also giving me a feeling of great pause on whether this would cause possible injury to my skin. Turns out, if touched, the microfibers would damage the work or at least as King says, unbalance the work. King is not repeating a kind of Duchamp readymade, nor is he another Post-Modern Neo-Dada, but he is invoking Duchamp’s ideas with a modern twist. Like the piece he had at the SMU-TED event, he brought in old hand powered water pumps and painted them a very alarming bright red color. TED events gather people to discuss solutions to problems in society. King’s work brings attention to the impending fresh water crisis in order to further the discussion and spur people to think about possible solutions. Imagine, 52 billion gallons of wastewater is processed by Dallas alone. Each of his hand pumps represented a billion gallons.

King is not asking “what is art?” as Duchamp might have, but rather, what can an ordinary object come to mean in another context. This shift of focus makes King’s work more topical and less philosophically abstract. Much of King’s work reminds me of that Warholian mass production approach, only King thinks like the contemporary consumer. He wants to customize and make the everyday object personal. By doing so, these over customized objects go to the purely absurd level. He makes them no longer functional and consequently King has moved his objects into becoming art.

Along with Shane Pennington and Veletta Forsythe Lill, Joshua King founded the AURORA event in Dallas. The seed of the idea started with Pennington and King wanting to extend the Cedars Open Studio Tour into the night. The event expanded to the Old City Park with nearly 40 artists in new media, sound, and projection. Each year this event has gotten larger in number of attendees and artists participating. The biennial event has attracted artists from around the world. All three artists had a vision to make Dallas an international art city and AURORA was the kind of event to put Dallas on the map.

Gallery in Dallas last year. In 2012, The Goss-Michael Foundation group show along with his solo show at The WAAS Gallery helped to increase his profile. With a BFA from North Texas, he has made great strides with his art. If you are hoping to see his work soon, you will have to wait till November, here in Dallas and New York City. Joshua King is also one of many talented artists from the Mod Artists Group. for more images

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