Week 5 Artist Conversation – Joshua Thomen

Artist: Joshua Thomen                                                                                                                                     Exhibition: Still Here                                                                                                                                         Media: Concrete, Ceramics                                                                                                                              Gallery: CSULB School of Art, Dennis W. Dutzi Gallery                                                                        Instagram: @voyezmessouvenirs

About the Artist

Joshua Thomen is a third year CSULB undergraduate student who is currently working on his BA. However, he eventually wants to get to his BFA but he is unable to right now. He is from Pasadena and has always had a passion for art ever since he was a child, he loves how one is able to express their feelings and thoughts without even saying a word. He believes art should be designed for others to see it, but the meaning should come from the artist, and not for how others should think of it.

Formal Analysis

This exhibition by Joshua consists of ceramic figures being in a block of concrete and then being stood up. On one side, it looks very smooth like a plain block of concrete, but on the other side it looks uneven with a ceramic figure sticking out of the side of it. The blocks are lined up next to each other and end up making a shape similar to an upper-case N. In the background, there are wind chimes playing which gives the exhibition an eerie vibe to it, since it is extremely dark in there.

Content Analysis

In his exhibition, Joshua was trying to show how the ceramic figures were stuck in the block of concrete, and that is what he was trying to portray as his main idea, that many people felt stuck and helpless with everything going on in the country at the moment. Another idea that was portrayed was that the way the blocks of concrete were set up, it gave it a very graveyard looking environment, which could symbolize the death of America as we know it. Joshua also wanted to make it clear that the viewer could determine whether the ceramic dolls were sinking into the concrete, or they were trying to get out but failing to do so.

Synthesis/My Experience

When I first walked into the exhibit it was definitely an odd environment with the darkness, the concrete blocks, and the wind chimes playing, but the more I was able to look at the exhibit as a whole, it was pretty interesting. I did not know what to make of it, just seeing ceramic figures in blocks of concrete, but after speaking to Joshua it made a lot more sense and I was able to appreciate his work a lot more. Overall, I enjoyed Joshua’s exhibit.

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