Josh Beliso: Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana
Outdoor installation visible from the street
On view Sept 17 - Oct 17
1209 Pine Ave Manhattan Beach CA, 90266
Garden hours are Mon - Fri; 11am - 4pm or by appointment
Sat, Sept 19, 4 - 7pm
Outdoor Garden Installation and Opening Reception
(social distancing and masks required)
Sat, Sept 26, 2pm
Virtual Instagram Artist Talk and Walk-Through
Using an archaic medium such as stone to embody mundane objects is both a love letter to materialism and a subtle critique. The great stone sculptors throughout history created art that was rooted in rich, exaggerated tales. They depicted Gods, monsters, and vixens. Rather than immortalizing concepts from folk and lore, my work focuses largely on what popular and object obsessed cultures have valued – our hairstyles, accessories, and ultimately, our identities. By representing these objects and trends using a medium like stone, our trends take on new meaning as they go from fleeting to timeless. A new space is created between the low end mass produced products and their transition towards the monumental, creating a newly realized context.
Stone is powerful by design, and exudes a monumental quality even before it is touched by the artist or craftsman. Marble for example, is earth in its most pure form, forming from calcium rich limestone containing the shells and leftover coral deposits and bones from ancient organisms. The aesthetics of stone and marble can be manipulated, but their essence remains untouched. I am provoked by this entanglement of organic materials with an expanding contemporary culture that is becoming more and more defined by its objects. The alchemy of material transcendence is to turn stone to milk, or a Q-tip.
My process starts in a moment of absurdity. Once a thought begins, I radicalize it into an unrealistic pursuit. It is only after I have entertained this absurd thought that I can begin to formulate a tangible idea. I often use humor as the catalyst for what I hope to create. I start with ideas that could be described as decrepit, goofy, and playful – working my way back with logic and rationality. Humor and play, like stone, is a pure pursuit. Like an earthly material, it cannot be faked, which any comedian in front of a human audience can attest to. The reality of existence subjects us continually to the perils of life, leaving us in a continuous state of seriousness. In this way, humor and play are essential elements in a world consumed by fear and pain. All artists, in some way or another, interact with emotion in their work. Given the choice, I am most naturally drawn to humor.
Images: preparation drawings, work in progress, and outdoor installation of Banana Split (2020) by Josh Beliso
About the Installation
The knock-knock joke is a quintessential gesture of adolescence and a relic of comedic pastime. As one grows into the banality of adulthood, into the grey-tinted consciousness of a serious demeanor, the importance of laughter grows ever more important. Orange You Glad I Didn’t Say Banana is an exhibition that explores Josh Beliso’s adaptive take on traditional stone sculpture. As he pushes the monumental qualities of this natural material, Beliso imposes transitional subject matter outside thousands of years of historical context into contemporary genres. His investigation into the function of jest is expressed through select objects of humor and traditional gag comedy.
Josh Beliso would like to cordially invite you to his MFA Thesis Exhibition. Due to Covid -19 restrictions and the deeply physical nature of his work, you are invited to an in-person, open-air sculptural garden experience. Each piece will be installed with safe, multiple-person viewing capabilities. Complimentary masks and hand a wash station will be available. The exhibition follows the state-mandated guidelines for Covid-19 safety, while also curating a special and unique art experience. This is an open-air installation that is visible from the street and drive-way. Visitors are welcome to enter during garden hours - maximum capacity is 8 people at a time.
Josh Beliso is a contemporary artist known for his unique adaptation of the classical stone medium. He was born in the South Bay of Los Angeles, immersed in the sleepy, sun-kissed lifestyle of beach culture. He spent his childhood exploring rural wastelands along the Colorado River in Mexico. There, he discovered the dilapidated and abandoned remains of 1970s vacation homes, searching for treasure in what was essentially left behind by society. This piqued an infatuation with objects, their importance to society, and the way humans interact with them.
Beliso is an MFA graduate from USC Roski School of Art and Design. Previously, he attended Otis College of Art and Design, where he graduated with a BFA in fine art, with a focus on sculpture. Mundane objects act as muses for his fluid, theatrical interpretations of the everyday. Hairstyles, accessories, and the foods we consume throughout passing centuries are immortalized through the archaic medium of stone - creating relevance and permanence out of fleeting moments, objects, emotions, and eras.