Josh M. G. Yates (b. 1989) is a British interdisciplinary artist living and working in New York City. In his work, Josh layers traditional and digital media utilizing canvas, paper, objects, video and installation.
His work is duly subversive and transcendent of popular culture, and the audience's natural inclination to ascribe meaning to images. The work exists, and is part of Josh's broader interest, to examine and challenge an audience's association with image. The work refrains from being only a critique of popular culture, seeing as many images he utilizes derive from it. The layered-ness of the work suggests a critique of not the actual cultural production, with Josh as a cultural producer, but rather the way that people see cultural production; what he deems to be the "popular consumerism of popular culture".
The content of the work serves to produce a critique and the subsequent critique of the critique or consumption of the content is more demonstrative of the work's intended outcome. Therefore, whether through the trajectory of painting, sculpture or video, the work refuses to be a singular moment, or tangible object. It transcends a concrete time or place as it is predicated on the object being the first step, and then the consumption, and then the object's subsequent reaction to that consumption.
The work presents a set of objects and images. Josh's concern lies not with the meaning necessarily behind the motifs that he utilizes. His interest is aimed at the consumption and reaction of the work in-spite of his personal erasure of meaning. He is clear about his intention to deliberately create a sense of ambivalence or apathy about his personal connection to the images that he incorporates. It is another integral part of the process that produces the work. Its a deliberate decision that allows for a sense of ownership and authorship in that he does not dismiss the notion that the objects and images have meaning. Rather he divests other meaning in his aim to potentially view the objects and images objectively. Therefore, as an integral part of the process, Josh acknowledges the original context and simultaneously divests his ties from it. This is important to note in his process of creating as an artist and cultural producer, and what that means in a broader sense for art production in the twenty-first century.
Josh is currently pursuing an MFA in Fine Arts at the School of Visual Arts.
2012 BFA Painting Massachusetts College of Art & Design
2013 MA Contemporary Art Sotheby's Institute of Art, London