Josiah Gagosian: Flower & Song


Josiah Gagosian Cuernoihan 2019

The 1st Fine Arts Departments MFA thesis show of 2020: “Flower & Song” with works by Josiah Gagosian.

This solo exhibition will open at 6pm -9pm on Saturday Jan 11th and runs through Feb 2nd, 2020. Opening hours are Sat & Sun from noon to 5pm.




Josiah Gagosian: Flower & Song

Artist Statement

My work functions as a spiritual and philosophical inquiry, adapting ideas from a broad variety of sources, from the mythic and literary to the idiosyncratic and autobiographical. I seek to harmonize disparate, even paradoxical elements, in service of a higher knowledge and consciousness. Genealogy and a peculiar familial heritage have provided a wealth of photographs, religious and cultural motifs, and both historical and conceptual narrative material on which to base my work. I view this personal exploration as a path to the universal, the limbs of my family tree branching outward through time and space to intertwine with the whole of human history. I probe the traditions and histories of the various cultures and histories to which I am connected in order to create layered, multi-faceted work that provides a mechanism for mindful contemplation, psycho-spiritual examination and personal evolution. Of particular interest to me are the literary and artistic traditions of Mexico, which come out of a rich and multifaceted creative and spiritual past born of the violent collision and eventual synthesis of disparate human cultures, from Medieval Spain and North Africa to Tenochtitlan and the American Southwest. Central to this is the Nahuatl concept of difrasismo, a colorful metaphorical device wherein two words or phrases are combined to form a metaphorical image. “Water-fire,” for example, refers to “war,” while “the tail, the wing” denotes the “common people.” The difrasismo “flower and song” is the Nahuatl expression for poetry. Nahua shamans claimed that truth can only be expressed through “flower and song.” In essence, spiritual truths can only be expressed through the refinement of artistic metaphor, through poetry, through the blooming of the “body’s flower” in entheogenic ecstasy and the subsequent artistic response to that spiritual journey. Additionally, I have mined a variety of more modern philosophical, spiritual, and artistic ideas in pursuit of a practice that merges my painting, sculptural, and mixed media processes with the ongoing labor of personal psychological and spiritual development. Combining disparate traditions, both ancient and modern, I construct poetic liminal spaces in my work as a means of arriving closer to a Truth that extends beyond the reach of material reality. I view my task as a mystical one, a divinely futile attempt to make work that pays homage to what cannot be immediately apprehended by the physical senses. It is the purpose of my work to seek out ways to recount our unpronounceable, inimitably human story.


Paregamistad 2019