Josh Dorman

7 February - 15 March 2020

Josh Dorman - Painter/ mixed media artist

New York City, NY


Josh Dorman was born in Baltimore in 1966. He studied at Skidmore College, Saratoga Springs before completing his MFA at Queen’s College, Flushing, New York. Recent solo exhibitions have included Ryan Lee, New York and Koplin Del Rio, Los Angeles, the Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles. His work is included in the collections of the Minneapolis Academy of Art Museum, The Butler Institute of American Art and The Naples Museum. He recently created seven short animations for a DVD collaboration entitled The Violin with composer Anna Clyne. His shows have been reviewed in Art Forum, ArtNews, The New York Times, Art in America, The Paris Review and Numero Cinq among others.


"I want to know how the past lives in the present. When I use cut-outs from old books and maps, I’m aware that their meaning is from another time period, so that meaning therefore lives in an altered way in a contemporary context. What does this engraving of the gears of a cotton gin mean to us now? And what happens in our eyes and minds when it’s paired with the spiral forms from a diagram of the cell structure of the cotton plant? What does an 1890 map fragment mean in a world where we have GPS? These physical paper artifacts are folded into who we are now, yet we are forgetting our connection to them. I am constantly foraging for peculiar old books—like a hunter, or a botanist. I find disused knowledge in diagrams, charts, engravings, antique textbooks. Part of my goal is to make people see the value of old printed imagery, which depended for its existence on the filter of a human mind and hand, rather than on the camera lens. By re-contextualizing these antique images within drawn and painted worlds, I aim to generate paintings that feel dislocated in time. I generate fields of visual detritus, then bury and excavate, wander between flesh, feather, metal, bone, rock. Living ferns stain skeletal fractal forms on old maps. Gears, mushrooms, coronae and cells mesh, echo, power machines or hover weightless.  The worlds of form and image that I create have an internal logic, like a poem or novel. There are visual rhymes and dozens of narratives, but I do not prescribe a single reading. My aim is for the paintings to be simultaneously hyper-specific and completely open-ended. - J.D.


 " beautiful as they are, the paintings evoke a state of basic contradiction that has a way of getting under your skin."

- ​Dan Piepenbring, The Paris Review

"Dorman constructs fantasy lands and visual puns with the wonky, romantic intensity of a daydreaming ten-year-old."

- New Yorker Magazine


"​Each of Josh Dorman's works, like a dream, is at once a window and a mirror, opening onto a landscape of chimeras and strange juxtapositions, never before seen yet instantly recognizable, as familiar as the outlines of our own secret reflections."

-Michael Chabon


"It’s an accomplishment reminiscent of the greatest Renaissance masters in terms of complexity and scope, but it requires a visual familiarity with biology, anthropology and art history for full comprehension, or an immense key to important moments."

- Jerry Cullum , Cullum's Notebook - Arts ATL 



Essays by Poets & Novelists

Nam Le Essay for Lost Divers Catalog Paul Auster essay for CUE Foundation Catalog

2020 Arts Atlanta

2019 Longview Journal

2017 Numero Cinq

2014 Art Critical BOMB Magazine Installation Magazine NPR ​Bullseye-  I Wish I'd Made That Interview The Paris Review Thought Catalog Minneapolis Academy of Art Acquisition Statement Fad Magazine  WNYC New Sounds on The Violin Animations VOLTA NY Profile ArtFile Magazine

2013 ​MoMa PS1 Studio Visit ​American Art Collector SACI Artist Profile 2012 Art+Auction Los Angeles Times Art Week LA

2011 Interview with Mario Naves Post Star

2010 Beautiful Decay CityArts - Mario Naves Nam Le Essay for Lost Divers Catalog TimeOut New York The Village Voice Two Coats of Paint LA Times ​

2008 ARTnews Los Angeles Times

2007 Los Angeles Times ​New York Times

2006 Art New England

2005 ArtScene ​John Massier Essay for Hallwalls Los Angeles Times New Yorker The Week 2004 Art in America Artforum ​New Yorker New York Observer Paul Auster Essay for CUE 2003 Newport This Week

2002 Post Road

2001 Modern Painters Pressed Water BroadsideI