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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What do you see?

This piece by Josh Chambers entitled "Next time, you be Santiago"is one of several now hanging in the Emerging Artist gallery at the Bossier Arts Council.


Josh Chambers Artist Statement
The stories I create are presented through cryptic tableaus inspired by my personal life. The viewer is to use his or her own perceptions of the symbols to extrapolate underlining themes and create an entertaining narrative. I encode the visual experience of private moments through the use of symbolic figures placed in ethereal landscape enacting indefinite scenarios. I want the viewer to have an active role in establishing the chronology and meaning of each story. In both painting and printmaking drawing plays a key role in the outcome of the artwork. I prefer the immediacy of painting with acrylic, and drawing with ink.

Share what story you interpret with this image and compare to others interpretations.


  1. I must admit, reading his artist statement is a little hard, but the main thing I get from it is this; Josh wants everyone to interpret his paintings in their own way. The story I create in my head gives the piece meaning.
    The first thing I notice is the gorilla in a life jacket manning the propeller. I see this contraption as an airboat that the gorilla is guiding. It's almost as if the man on the airboat (who I'm guessing is Josh) is being guided by a gorilla. This tells me a lot about the artist. For one that his art has probably guided him throughout his life or this period of his life. The gorilla is present in many of Josh's other works of art implying that this gorilla has taken on a life form of it's own and now conveys to the artist what to create next. That's just my pov.

  2. The human in the picture appears to have his belongings packed,and upon a closer look is standing next to a closed door. The door also appears, were it to be opened, that it would open back toward nothing. The door is also on the side of the vessel opposite of the direction that the vehicle is now heading, given the direction of the propeller. This to me would represent that the human is leaving behind and closing the door on something that he considers to represent nothing. There also appears to be a loose tether of some sort on the left, perhaps where the vehicle used to be docked? A further indication of a departing voyage.

    The human's body language is that of defeat and uncertainty with a tinge of regret/sadness. Perhaps also evaluating what would happen if he were to fall from the vehicle.

    The ape is the pilot of the vessel and its body language, by contrast, conveys confidence and calmness - yet it is the only one aboard who has actually taken precautions for self-preservation - i.e.- wearing a life jacket.

    If I had to create a story from the image - someone is making a momentous departure from their previous station in life, and it is likely due to circumstance rather than choice. That person has very few things to take with them, nothing of value behind them, no clear goal in front of them - which causes that person to have a sense of defeat and perhaps anxiety, but not quite despair, mainly because they aren't leaving anything of value behind in doing so. It isn't as risky of a venture considering what they are leaving - nothing important. The human represents the intellectual side of departing with one's past, or carving out a new identity/path in life while holding onto a few precious things from the prior, namely the doubts that accompany it and arise from analyzing things, particularly with the knowledge that there is no net of safety below you.

    The ape represents the more primal/physical/animalistic/emotional/non-thinking side of departing with one's past, confident that everything is going to be okay, but still prepared at a base level if it doesn't. Because the ape is the pilot - it indicates that the person making the voyage has chosen to trust/embrace his own non-thinking side in this travel.