Josh Jefferson is back at Gallery 16 San Francisco for the second time. The Boston-based artist's latest solo exhibition, Upon a Slitted Sheet I Sit, is opening tonight, June 7th, with vibrant paintings and works on paper balancing a line between material experimentation and visual simplicity.

Jefferson's studio paintings and collages are cannibalized and reworked. Their boundaries are eaten and advanced as he bends toward and away from a personal vernacular while trying to redefine his paintings. Beginning with abstract and geometric underpaintings, Jefferson arranges cut pieces of painted canvas in layered, patterned constructions. Drawings from five years ago, pieces of old unstretched paintings, inspiration from his son's drawings - everything is fodder for the process as each disparate piece becomes a building block towards the synthesis of a dynamic new whole. 

Portal 2019 Acrylic and flashe on paper on canvas 60 x 48 inches 152.4 x 121.9 cm
"Portal", 2019 Acrylic and flashe on paper on canvas, 60 x 48 inches (152.4 x 121.9 cm)

“I'm an additive artist, not a reductive one. Collages and drawings hang about the studio, only to be added to another piece. Sometimes months, even years later. I find it's important to let certain pieces ferment. So, in a way, my earlier work dovetails into my current work creating a multiyear build up. This merger between older and new work helps me create a deep rich surface, which creates an image packed with the detritus of my older development. It generates a continuous link between old and new, enriches the structure and overall image, and helps create a world that is strengthened by the process.

Screen Shot 2019 06 07 at 3.03.56 PM
"Pickle Vortex", 2019 Acrylic and flashe on paper on canvas, 60 x 48 inches (152.4 x 121.9 cm)

Ultimately, the paintings are as much assembled as they are painted. Jefferson's process – cutting previously-painted works and combining them into a harmonious whole – creates an accident while reinforcing a fresh playfulness. Rather than focusing on the results of his labor, Jefferson focuses on the creative 'studio alchemy' of the process, opening himself up to the chance and magic that can happen in the studio. The artist's unusual and unexpected color combination further lends to the whimsical, unfettered quality of his paintings.

"Upon A Slitted Sheet" opens June 7th, with an opening reception at Gallery 16 from 6 to 9 pm. On display through July 26, 2019.