JOSH PAUL THOMAS
3 Friends, 2016, Archival light jet, 60 x 40 inches (print), Edition of 5
The exhibition shows photographic, drawing, painting, and video work in an immersive atmospheric installation.
Exhibition text by Robert Zin Stark:
“…when we call to mind the past, i.e. a series of deeds done, we always shorten it, without however distorting the nature of the event which interests us. The reason is that we know it already; for the psychic state, when it reaches the end of the progress which constitutes its very existence, becomes a thing which one can picture to oneself all at once. Here we find ourselves in the same position as the astronomer, when he takes in at a glance the orbit which a planet will need several years to traverse.”
From Henri Bergson’s Time and Free Will
Inspired by the power dynamics of the phallus, and being equally responsive to thought as to feeling, Josh Paul Thomas explores the violent and healing inertias of undefinable intention – both intentionally and unintentionally.
We tend to believe that intention is a state of mind, frozen at the time of an event, and a change of feelings towards that event can be inconsequential. We also tend to believe that we are either in a role of master or slave in a sensual act, but our voyeurism of it is incidental. However, in both cases, the feelings we have towards the event, and our observation of the participants, allows for the ability to recreate ‘intention’ and ‘role’.
The photographer is both master and slave to the image, both cerebral and sensuous towards it – controlling the access of voyeurism, but dependent on its subjects. Through the medium of cock, Thomas tempts the exploration of true liberation from power and judgement for participant and observer. The release of defined intention, with regard to both role and act, unleashes generative violence and healing.
This eruption is at the core of our power to create ourselves, like a raging volcano becoming its own island.
Control Cock, 2017, Oil, oil pencil chalk on bristol paper, 19 x 24 inches, Edition of 1
Josh Paul Thomas (b. 1985 Healdsburg, California)
Working across mediums of installation, video, drawing, painting, performance, and photography, Thomas has focused on the classical male nude in its contemporary context of taboo and objectification over the past decade.
Navigating the tricky divide between counter-culture and commercial-culture, Thomas naturally began a creative relationship with designer Bernhard Willhelm, who over the years has allowed him unadulterated artistic freedom in photographing his collections and muses, such as cultural icons Joe Dallesandro, Tony Ward, and Pamela Anderson. His work has been featured in Vogue, Interview Magazine, Physique Pictorial, Headmaster Magazine, Advocate, and other notable publications.
READ JOSH PAUL THOMAS ON PHALLUS MOTIVATION
Through 24th February