Josh Stein (b. 1973, Hammonton, New Jersey; currently residing in Napa, California) is a lifelong multi-mode creative artist, musician, writer, professor with multiple advanced degrees from the University of California and the University of Liverpool, adult beverage maker, and current MFA candidate at School of Visual Arts in New York City. He has more than five hundred articles in print, including monthly columns and covering a range of cultural and lifestyle issues; his artwork and copy have graced the front and back labels of dozens of releases from a myriad of Northern California wine producers; and his artwork has been nationally and internationally published numerous times and exhibited in a wide range of locations around the world, including the CICA Museum in Seoul, Korea, Adas Israel in Washington DC, Burning Man in Blackrock, Nevada, and Gallery 1064 in Seattle, amongst many others. He has had multiple solo shows in California and Washington states and has participated in numerous duo and group shows nationally and internationally. With formal training in calligraphy, graphic design, and color work; more than two decades as a researcher, teacher, and writer in cultural analysis in the vein of the Birmingham and Frankfurt Schools; and a decade and a half as a commercial artist and designer for multiple winery clients; he brings his influences of Pop art, Tattoo flash and lining techniques, and Abstract Surrealism and Expressionism to the extreme edge where graphic design and calligraphy meet the Platonic theory of forms.
My work creates unexpected moments of precariousness. I use metallic, iridescent, and fluorescent acrylics, textures that lift the paint from the canvas, and a variety of hot glues which add dimensionality to the surfaces. The goal is to create what I call deep patterns, which elicit a Jungian sense of collective knowledges and connections. I seek a reckoning with the artwork as a presence unto itself, and the use of these more “exotic” mediums in concert with natural and UV lights and self-created soundscapes produces a moment of active tension both in person and via digital reproduction. I create work that collapses clear distinctions via aufhebung, the negation of negation: both paint and sculpture, both presence and absence, both expectation and result. Movements out of flat planes create multivalent pieces: sculptural mixed media using canvas or wood as a base for horizontal presentations, painterly mixed media intended to be hung from vertical surfaces, and modular work on multiple substrates which can combine infinitely through the structural use of magnets. The goal is the substantiation of imagination: fooling the eye into seeing things it never imagined could exist, and then going beyond to ask for willing participation in a different way of seeing the world around us, externally and internally.