Broadway is pleased to announce a solo exhibition by Josh Tonsfeldt. Comprising wall-mounted sculptures, photographs, a single-channel video and a large-scale installation, the presentation demonstrates the artist’s characteristic complexity of medium and application. Blending found images and abstraction, technology and raw emotion, Tonsfeldt examines the nexus of nature and culture with an allusive and poetic touch.
In the first gallery, the artist has installed an undulating sequence of found and fabricated children’s masks that are attached to the ceiling throughout the room via wood-veneered steel. Each mask is fixed with an expression of the Wong-Baker Scale (used by pediatricians to determine intensity of pain in their patients and, more recently, for customer satisfaction surveys) from a broad smile to an anguished grimace. Traversing the space, a viewer experiences this theatrical range of emotion as a manifest animation or Muybridge photo series, and a surprisingly poignant encapsulation of an anxious era. Further punctuating this space are a series of photographs printed on thin slabs of fiberglass-reinforced plaster. Depicting other glancing indices of childhood—a bookbag, a globe, a trip to Legoland—we begin to construct a narrative that interlaces Tonsfeldt’s studio practice, the isolation of the past two years, and his private life as a father.
Adding an ambient layer to the physicality of the sculpture, Tonsfeldt has included a video projection. At first seemingly abstract, we soon make out a tight shot of an animal’s fur, slowly undulating with labored breathing. The video completes a mood of precarious domesticity, of comfort and loss.
In the rear of the exhibition, this tendency is carefully subsumed and more obliquely embedded in a group of hybrid wall sculptures that compound medium and meaning. Though formally based on large flat-screen televisions, the sleek blackness of the original has been replaced with splashes of brightly pigmented poured resin. Studded with found photographs, electronic components and other materials, the works create a complex illusionary space that functions as a sculptural surrogate for the moving image.