Wandering through the old Luther’s Livestock barn in Wassaic this weekend I ran into a 27-year old artist from Teaneck New Jersey who now lives in Los Angeles and works with donuts as both his medium and his message. Sitting among pallets of acetate dipped stacks of donuts, Josh Atlas smiles a winning smile and notes that his 4 month residency with the Wassaic Project is an opportunity to experiment and study the techniques available behind preserving donuts and realizing his illustrated fantasies. In “Donut Day-Spa”, a figure “soaks” in a bathtub full of donuts replete with facemask of pink icing. Josh is interested in the donuts for the way they affect our eyes and our bodies, as symbol of desire and also for their formal element, their stackable shapes and high key colors.
The art is about appetite. Josh admits to an enormous sweet tooth and at least one chipmunk groupie in the studio. He says that, “comedy is the impulse behind my practice”. He cites the influence of comic books and cartoons behind his inclination to stretch the absurd. So came the impetus for Josh to create disco balls of donuts.
Josh attended Carnegie Mellon originally intending to study computer animation. The BFA program required interdisciplinary study and, as a result, his love of drawing and sculpture grew. His last major project was a long illustration turned graphic novel.
For the August Wassaic Project Summer Festival in the Maxon Mill, August 13-15, Josh plans a real icing splash on the wall. Visit www.joshatlas.com or the www.wassaicproject.org for more info.