Home » Flying Limbs: VoCA visits Josh Malcolm

Flying Limbs: VoCA visits Josh Malcolm

I visited artist Josh Malcolm in his studio this afternoon. His large oils on canvas were everywhere, and I found them very intriguing. They are very high energy – Malcolm says he’s inspired by European and American expressionist painting. But they’re quite different, and quite challenging. At first glance, they looked, to me very modern…but sort of unfinished.

In the studio. All images: VoCA

Cartoon limbs stuck out everywhere in an homage to Phillip Guston, and there are raw, stripey brushstrokes at funny angles across many canvases. I was struck by one piece in particular. It was a black painting, with several arms tangled up and a large swipe of paint crudely smeared across the bottom of the canvas and what looks to be a palette knife a the far side. It make me think of a fist fight.  More precisely, it seemed as if the artist was fighting with himself.

More paintings.

A work that looks – to me – like a fistfight.

Art is a language that doesn’t always come easily. For many artists throughout history making a successful painting was (and is still is) like an internal fight.

Once I looked at the work that way, I immediately liked it. I began to appreciate was he was doing, and I began to see much more in the work, like the background figures that started to emerge from negative space, set at oddly quirky angles and humorous details like stripey socks or a razor sharp manicure.

Josh Malcolm in his studio.

I couldn’t help but be inspired by how modern these works seemed. It’s amazing how an artist can decide to just run a stripe of paint across a canvas, for no apparent reason, and know that it needs to be there.

An unfinished work.

A quote that Josh Malcolm has on his Facebook page explains a lot about what he’s going for:


“After all what are most painters interested in? In Life.

All artists are lovers, they’re lovers of life, they want to see

how they can set the trap so that life will come over more

vividly and more violently. And how do they do that?

Let us reason, why would one paint for oneself? Not to say

how clever  I am, but how can I trap this transient thing.”

-Francis Bacon

Three finished works.


A close up of one work, showing a figure from above,  looking down.


Another unfinished work.


The palette table.


The artist with an older work.

Read a bit more about Josh Malcolm HERE.

One Response to “Flying Limbs: VoCA visits Josh Malcolm”

  1. Bill says:

    I like it! Kind of makes me think of Dana Schutz, too.

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