In his upcoming show titled "Playthings," Josh Garber welds sculpture from ready-made material, aluminum, steel and bronze. Using a wider vocabulary of materials and techniques, Garber sets out to imbue everyday functional components such as screws and hex nuts with a fierce erotic energy.
Accompany (2011), the earliest piece in the show, resembles much that the artist has made over the past fifteen years. Biomorphic in form, it consists of several rounded organic shapes that seem to grow from its solid center like the fleshy parts of a barrel cactus. Garber started Accompany with an armature and then welded on short aluminum rods of varying diameter so they point outward in different directions to make an active, tactile surface.
After Accompany, Garber wanted his work to become more complex, layered, and emotional. Two sculptures from 2013 - Because of You and After, we talked - mark a major advance for him. Formally, Because of You is an opened-up descendant of Accompany. It's made from stainless steel bolts that he's welded onto an armature so they stick out like spines. Each bolt has a nut screwed down to the place where it is welded, creating an inner unity. To suggest an outer skin, the artist patinates the grooves in the bolt heads black.
Because of You recalls spores and pollination. The bolts seem to enter the armature suggesting procreative processes. Depending on how it's displayed and viewed, Because of You can be sensuous, cheerful, or even belligerent.
Two double-wire loops intertwine in After, we talked. Each loop consists of an inner strengthening structure patinated black and enclosed by a polished outer structure that captures the light. Five bundles of bars, each grasped by a tight wire loop, become energy centers that contrast with its main body. These shimmering clusters act as emphatic punctuations in the continuous rhythm of the bronze wrappings. The juxtaposition of these elements evokes the energy of a neurotransmitter synapse.
Garber has a fascination with the intricate patterns in neurology and microbiology, as well as the machinations of technology. In his new work he overlays these interests with playful, romantic yearnings. Artists such as Ernesto Neto, Richard Deacon and Nancy Rubins have informed his working processes and conceptual approach.
Because of You and After, we talked form a charged dialogue. Powerful and fresh, they present similar ideas but in different ways.
Victor Cassidy - 2013