Metro Gallery is pleased to present After Image, an exhibition of recent paintings by Tasmanian-based artist, Josh Foley.
In his hometown of Launceston, Josh Foley’s presence is ubiquitous. An invitation from the artist for a drive or a walk leads through museums, galleries, and restaurants, or garages, clinics, and private residences which either house Josh’s works or are adorned with his murals.
Josh’s connections to Tasmania, and Launceston in particular, are deep and personal. The local museum displays a portrait of one of his ancestors, a nineteenth-century worthy, who contributed generously to the city’s charitable and public institutions. With at least five generations calling Launceston home, Josh’s geographical location is among contributing factor to the unique qualities of his art. Unburdened by the constant exposure to major museums or the dominant art market trends, Josh’s vision has an enviable freedom to foment and evolve.
Aptly summed up in the exhibition’s title, AfterImage, his paintings can be best described as reconstructed images recalled from one’s visual memory bank. Certain sections are brought back vividly, others are but mere phantoms, often abstracted and embellished with the seemingly unrelated vignettes brought forth from the subconscious.
The broad iconography within Josh’s works reflects his erudite knowledge and inquisitiveness. In his studio, the shelves groan under the weight of voluminous art books; the cork boards are heavy with layers of reference images; computers stand at the ready to perform image searches through complex algorithms. These diverse influences and visual stimuli coalesce in an infinite variety of ways within the pieces in the present exhibition.
Portraits, landscapes, and still lives from the Old and Modern Masters as well as images from comic books, advertising materials, personal photographs, and social media collide in a kaleidoscopic microcosm. Images converse with each other creating overlapping iconographic connotations and semantic associations. The viewer is integral to the ongoing evolution of the pieces through personalised interpretations and unexpected conjectures.
Josh’s creative processes are laborious and time-consuming, requiring the artist to designate—and traverse physically between—different areas of his studio. Inchoate concepts are visualised with the sophisticated imaging techniques. Acrylic pigments lay the foundation. Gesso additives enhance the three-dimensionality of the (at times) highly textured surfaces. Oil pigments accentuate the shimmering, jewel-like appearance of the finished pieces.
The resulting works demand to be experienced ‘in the flesh’ to appreciate the intensity of individual pigments; the delicate interplay of visual references; and the powerful thrust of textures into the third dimension.
Josh Foley (born 1983) has been exhibiting widely since the early 2010s in Hobart,Launceston, Melbourne, and Sydney. His works were included in significant curated exhibitions at the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery(Launceston), Devonport Regional Gallery, University of Tasmania, and LindenNew Art. He had won the 2011 Glover Prize, appointed to residencies at the CiteInternationale des Arts in Paris, and received Public Art commission grants. He was also a finalist in numerous prestigious art awards and art prizes, including Eutick Memorial Still Life Award, Tasmanian Portrait Prize, JohnLeslie Art Prize, Rick Amor Drawing Prize, Fleurieu Art Prize, Tattersall’s ArtPrize, and numerous others. Foley’s works were acquired by the Artbank, Macquarie Bank Collection, Queen Victorian Museum and Art Gallery, Burnie Regional Gallery, University of Tasmania, as well as corporate and private collections across Australia and overseas.
Josh Foley is a contemporary artist from Tasmania, Australia. Foley's practice primarily revolves around painting, but he also works with mixed media and installation art. His artworks often explore the relationship between the natural environment and human culture, as well as the intersection of the past and present. Born in 1986 in Launceston, Tasmania, Foley studied at the Tasmanian School of Art, where he received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2008. After completing his studies, he continued to hone his craft and gain recognition through various group exhibitions, including the Hobart Art Prize and the Burnie Print Prize.
In 2013, Foley was awarded the coveted Glover Prize, which is one of Australia's most prestigious awards for landscape painting. This marked a turning point in his career, providing him with the exposure and recognition to establish himself as one of Tasmania's most promising emerging artists. Foley's artworks are characterised by his unique technique of layering translucent glazes of colour over each other, as well as impasto to create a sense of depth and luminosity. His works often incorporate subtle imagery and symbolism, referencing historical and cultural themes.
Foley's works have been exhibited in numerous galleries and museums throughout Australia, including the National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of New South Wales. He has also been invited to participate in international exhibitions, including the Florence Biennale and the London Art Fair. His recent works continue to push the boundaries of his medium, exploring new techniques and ideas. His art has received critical acclaim for its sensitivity, depth, and beauty, and has cemented his place as one of Tasmania's most innovative and important artists.