MCLA Gallery 51's come inside.

Exhibition by Joshua AM Ross

By: - Jan 27, 2022

This body of work by Joshua AM Ross is a representation of his continued search to bring the world, as he sees it, to life. Self-identified as a photographer, Ross reveals his talent for using pencil and exploring the palette beyond imagination.

Come inside is an invitation for viewers to participate in Ross’s journey through the works. It invites us to be present as we navigate through images which are intentionally disorienting, necessarily so, to more fully experience his perspective. Ross’s works can be viewed as an exercise in finding comfort within the discomfort, as well as being unclear about the orientation of the work and the viewer’s relationship to it. For Ross, drawing is a type of performance, similar to what a painter may experience as the brush touches the canvas. The dozen large- and small-scale colored pencil drawings are meticulous, precise, and abstract, but still represent what is organic.

Ross also questions weight and opacity, central components of his practice. In these works, he creates a place to better discuss Blackness or Darkness, history, space and contexts, versus the conventional ways and spaces. These works are environments with figures, in which the viewer has to question their gaze.  Ross has searched for what he wants to see in what he sees. Instead of looking head-on at what is in his range of vision, he looks to the sides and the corners, searching for what is not in view. Ross proposes we de-center our view and step inside his spaces to see what he sees. 

Influenced by the likes of Faith Ringgold, David Hammonds, Charles White, Kerry James Marshall, and many others, Ross pursues an inquiry into their work and use of materials. He challenges the capacity of the pencil to explore Blackness. Figures are created in Ross’s own design and space. He also creates the feeling of movement throughout the works, a reference to a dependency which Ross creates between the materials, his labor, the scale, their presence in space, and his intention for the work. He strives to defy notions of what drawings can be, and should do, as works of art. Neither sketches nor studies, these are final works, and a testament to the power of Ross’ ability to work in this medium.

The details in the works are powerful and significant, nothing is random or insignificant. The work focuses on the interaction between color and light. This intersection, or perhaps conflict, is where the photographer is conversing with the draftsman. It challenges convention, and in the process, Ross designs a world of spaces and figures that do not have to subscribe to the rules of reality or perspective. Ross’ original forms and contexts, tempt the viewer into exploring, experiencing, questioning, and then applying that to their own perspective on life. The work articulates for Ross what he sees, and we may never see, unless the viewer gazes upon his work and chooses to come inside.

come inside culminates Ross’s work completed as the Fall 2021 MCLA ART LABORATORY Resident.