The creative process is never a straight line. As each piece progresses, I continuously challenge and reinterpret what it will provide to viewers as an aesthetic experience. The materials I use are physical manifestations of the ideas explored- acting as conduits between concept and tangible reality. Glass, wood, paper, sand, and rope combine with ink pigments and photographic emulsions to blur the line between object and illusionistic representation. The finished form that results is an embodiment of concept, rather than a simple reflection of it.
My recent creative work is the direct result of moving to the UAE, focusing very intently on the examination of identity and location through the individuals and objects I have found in my new surroundings. The found objects I collect act as physical records of a location’s memory- unique artifacts that carry embedded remnants of the time and place they are discovered. My portrait work has evolved into more collaborative ventures with my subjects, directly engaging them through interviews and feedback asking for meaningful insights influencing the outcome of the piece. As these two bodies of work have begun to merge, I find myself constantly surprised at the unexpected results of this exploration.
Currently, I have begun taking my newest body of works out of the gallery space and into public environments through site-specific solar lightbox installations. During the day, an image is presented to viewers, installed in an area with high pedestrian activity. When the sun goes down, the work lights up to reveal additional information that recontextualizes the original imagery. These “binary message” works have led me to begin studying time-lapse videography as a way to document the changing nature of the artworks and show how they evolve through the course of a day and night in these public environments.
All of my work is an exploration of the many ways we can perceive and interact with the people and environs of the world around us. Just as light going through a prism becomes an entire spectrum, the ideas, contexts, and motivations embedded within our daily lives are always more than what they appear on the surface. I hope to continue my creative growth by finding new and exciting ways to articulate ideas to the viewing public. This persistent search for improved expression will continue to drive my creative exploration and I look forward to the discoveries awaiting me at each new step.
Originally from the United States, Joshua Watts received his undergraduate degree from Bradley University and Master of Fine Arts at the University of South Dakota, with a concentration in Printmaking. His work has been featured in over 70 group and solo exhibitions across the United States and internationally in venues including Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Venice, Portugal, Malaysia, and Dubai. Notable exhibitions include Colorprint USA, ISEA 2014, Art Dubai, Douro Printmaking Biennale, and the Southern Graphics Council Traveling Exhibition.
His work explores notions of location, viewer engagement, personal histories, and the discovery of identity through interaction with others. The recent lightbox works incorporate transitory imagery activated by either the viewer or ambient light, providing alternative readings of the images and ideas presented through his artworks.
Since 2008, Joshua Watts has been an Assistant Professor of Visual Arts at Zayed University in Dubai, UAE. Students in his Printmaking courses interact with the international art community through exchange portfolios each semester. Recent examples include Alberta College of Art and Design, West Virginia University, VCU Doha, and University of Hawaii at Hilo. Teaching a variety of courses in printmaking, mixed media and book structures, the sustained development of his own work continues while promoting the aesthetic, conceptual, and expressive growth of students in his courses and public workshops. To see more of his work online or to contact this artist, please visit www.joshuawatts.net.
- "8th Douro International Printmaking Biennial" Douro Museum: Douro, Portugal (2016)
- "Revealed Dialogues" Sikka Art Fair, Al Fahidi District: Dubai, UAE (2016)
- (solo) "Resonant Disclosures" Hite Art Institute: Louisville, KY (2015)
- "SGCI Travelling Exhibition" Knoxville, TN and additional international venues (2015 - 2018)
- "ISEA 2014" Al Fahidi District: Dubai, Maraya Art Park: Sharjah, Al Furnoon Gallery: Abu Dhabi, UAE (2014)
- (solo) "A Sense of Place" Rewak Gallery: University of Sharjah, UAE (2013)
- "AMLP: Analog" Brooklyn Art Library: Brooklyn, NY (2013)
- "Art Dubai" Madinat Jumeirah: Dubai, UAE (2012)
- "Library Thoughts" Hungarian Multicultural Center: Budapest, Hungary (2011)
- (solo) "Between the Lines" Tashkeel Studios: Dubai, UAE (2011)
- "Penang International Print Exhibition" Penang State Museum & Gallery: Penang, Malaysia (2010)
- "50th International Juried Exhibition" Museum of the Living Artist: San Diego, CA (2009)
- "Emergence" Tenri Cultural Institute: New York, NY (2009)
- "Emerge: Ways of Worldmaking" San Servolo Palazzina: Venice, Italy (2009)
- "Silent Conversations" Tashkeel Studios: Dubai, UAE (2009)
- "Man Overboard" Studio 101 Pilsen: Chicago, IL (2009)
- "Made in the USA" Virginia Commonwealth University, VA (2008)
- "Covert Operations" Kiehl Visual Arts Center: St. Cloud, MN (2007)
- "Colorprint USA" Texas Tech College of Visual and Performing Arts: Lubbock, TX (2006)
- (solo) "Transitions" International Gallery of Contemporary Art: Anchorage, AK (2005)