Josh Foley, (B. 1983) holds a Bachelor of Contemporary Art (Hons) from the University of Tasmania. He has exhibited extensively throughout Australia and has received prestigious awards, grants and residencies. His work is held in many public and private collections throughout Australia, notably, in the collection of the Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, Macquarie Bank & University of Tasmania.
In 2011 Josh won The John Glover Prize which was then the richest landscape prize in Australia. Winning this award at the age of 27 Josh remains the youngest person to achieve this. Anthony Bond OAM, speaking in 2011, then Curator of International Art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales and head judge of the Glover prize 2011, said of Josh’s work; it’s “…talking about the whole history of the conventions of western painting.”
Recent residencies include the late Arthur Boyd's property Bundanon, Illaroo, New South Wales (2016); Cite Internationale des Arts, Paris, France (2015). Recent commissions include, Vice-Chancellor portrait commission (Professor Daryl Le Grew), University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania (2020); Tasmanian Government Artsite Scheme, Taroona High School, Taroona (2016); Tasmanian Government Artsite Scheme, Latrobe Primary School, Latrobe (2016).
Recent solo exhibitions include New Percepts at Despard Gallery, Hobart (2020); Calculating Infinity at Queen Victoria Museum & Art Gallery, Launceston (MONA FOMA program) (2020); The Disrupted Gaze at Despard Gallery, Hobart (2017); Blue Lines at MOP Projects: Hosted by Galerie pompom, Sydney (2015);
Parametric Painting Institute at Gallerysmith Project Space, North Melbourne (2015);
Transference at Devonport Regional Gallery, Devonport (2014); Caffeine as part of PAINTFACE Curated by Polly Dance at Constance ARI, Hobart (2014); The Parataxic Sublime at Kings ARI, Melbourne (2013).
Recent group exhibitions include Linden Postcard 30th Anniversary winners show, Curated by Juliette Hanson, Linden New Art, St. Kilda, Victoria (2020); The McGivern Prize: Finalist Exhibition at Maroondah Art Gallery, Victoria (2019); Tattersall’s Art Prize (Invitation Prize), Tattersall’s Club, Brisbane, Queensland (2018); Speed, Curated by Malcom Bywaters, as part of MONA FOMA, Academy Gallery, UTAS, Launceston, Tasmania (2018); Seven, Curated by Paul Eggins, part of MONA FOMA at Sawtooth Gallery, Launceston (2018); Despard Gallery at Sydney Contemporary, Sydney (2017); EMSLA: Finalist Exhibition, Project Contemporary Artspace, Wollongong, New South Wales (2017); The Black Swan Prize: Finalist Exhibition, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Perth (2016); The John Leslie Prize: Finalist Exhibition, Gippsland Art Gallery, Gippsland (2016); Museum of Doubt, Curated By Dr Peter Hill at Despard Gallery, Hobart (2016); Exhaust, Curated By Erin Sickler, part of MONA FOMA at Contemporary Art Tasmania, Hobart (2016).
I’m interested in the scientific, perceptual, physical, manifest representational realm I am privy to, but also in the unexplainable – intuition, coincidence, déjà vu. With painting we can exist within both domains. Tangible encounters present novel potentialities for spiritual exploration and offer peculiar opportunities for the world of concrete objects and the esoteric to collide in such a fashion whereby my sense of being in the world is heightened.
There is a visionary aspect to my work. By that I mean, often I will take a mental imprint of a distinct material visual outcome that relates to a moment in time, or outside of time – of space or of thing; or both, of colour or movement – and then I attempt to execute this. I’m embedded within a philosophical dialogue that morphs from day to day, week to week, and this all serves to add affect and nuance to these visions.
I respond to the world around me by contrasting it with the mercurial world inside me (the equilibrium or the calm, and the serendipitous psychedelia of the disruptions, contortions, and distortions of my ethereal corporeality). Finding the best technical vehicle to explain this relationship is a continually evolving journey of discoveries. They are becoming more ecstatic and less and less frustrating the more skill I develop, and the dialogue between input and output is increasing fluid, excuse the pun.
At a certain point (around 2007) I became bemused by some concurrent trends in contemporary art – that of the palette knife school; thick, seductive, and decadent, and the new photorealist painters; slick, cool and intellectual. I began responding from my angular perspective by attempting to fuse those approaches together. Since then, my interests have evolved away from such commentary and have led me into a psycho spiritual investigation of materiality and how illusion and reality can be manipulated to conjure feelings of the sublime and the uncanny.
Josh Foley, 2021.