Josh Jefferson, the Boston-based painter, uses a big brush to create a big ruckus. It could just a little slight wink and nod, as his new solo show, The Big Ruckus, opens at Sugarlift in NYC, but its about the strokes and movement for Josh, who has long been the JuxSaturdaySchool editor for our IG. Josh looks back and looks forward. He has an eye for what has inspired a generation of painters but he himself, is boldly marking time with his abstract-meets-slight figuration paintings. And these new works feel like they are channeling chaos, something haunting, something deep within the subconscious. 

“This new body of work is the continuation of an ongoing series of paintings created with a custom-made brush - two 8 inch brushes drilled together - which I call the BIG BRUSH," Josh says. "This tool has enabled me to make big moves on the canvas quickly, distilling the process to only the necessary gestures. By limiting my practice to only the essential brushwork, this method trims the fat to reveal the soft underbelly of intention. This layering technique has taken me years to achieve, and my experience with these paintings has helped me gain emotional knowledge that if I am lucky to have imbued in this work, expressing meaning through the depth and layers of each painting.” 

By layering and moving the paint in a way that he does, each work feels like a galaxy, with an unknown world coming out the other side. Improvised but knowning. From his roots in the West Coast to his now base in the East, Josh is playing a Jazz now; soulful and ambitious. —Evan Pricco