Josh Vidal



2011-14 Selected Paintings: Questionable

These paintings represent a time in my life where i was harboring a lot of frustration towards my self and outwards to the institutions i felt i was often trapped by. Many of these were painted while i was attending CCA, though the later ones (2013, 2014) were created after I graduated and was working with some of the same ideas, though i think i had calmed down a lot because there was less to push against in a different way.

I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing when I painted a lot of these and I felt that not knowing was a good place to be. Often times, when I thought I knew what I was doing, I got more lost in something which slowed down my process. Most of these paintings are emotive and the color choices to me are generally of a sickly nature. I had a lot inside of me and getting to understand that I had the power to create something became an obsessive impulse.

I worked a lot just to work and created a lot of things that I didnt like. Often times, i would physically attack my paintings out of frustration as if to get over a personal problem that i found in them; sometimes this helped and sometimes it didn't, but i got through it. You can see this attitude in the scratch marks or layers of layers that I put on. I was often hiding things from myself and striving to create my identity at the same time. I discovered my own methods for using paint by getting emotionally involved in what i was creating. I was impatient but knew it took hard work to get anywhere. I also knew that i couldnt reach any form of perfection, but i was struggling with the idea of creating something i liked or something that i would actually want to look at after i finished.

The painting titled "AALL" was a huge step of releif for me. I painted it days after I graduated college. It was a meditation and a personal mark of freedom from an "art" oriented educational business/institution and an agreement with myself that I would continue making art outside of school. This was a "big idea" and mode of representation that i needed to present to myself because i felt that in order to distinguish myself from the marginalized institutional standards that dumbed down my education through the business oriented practices of said school system that kept many people within the walls of that trapped life-style while perpetuating norms and confusing students and teachers into expected modes of history oriented art-making that had what i felt, little to do with personal freedom and creativity, i needed to do something better than anything i had done. something that didn't rely on a vocabulary that already existed. something i felt was indescribable. of course, i will never be able to escape these things, but at the time it was essential to approach myself and my art in this way. i am still reaching for what i dont know how to describe.