Sunday, June 23, 2024

Joshua Miller at Bozo Magazine


Charred fruits—lemons, limes, oranges, bananas, plantains—litter the ground of the gallery; their previously thick skins so totally desiccated from being fired in a kiln that they totally disintegrate when stepped on. Such messy, smelly decay is the setting of Joshua Miller’s solo exhibition, “YESTERDAYS CAMEL.” Eponymously named for the skeleton of the ten,000-year-old beast discovered within the La Brea Tar Pits, the exhibition makes allusions to the passage of time, technological antiquation, and the questionable perception in a brighter future.

On the ground among the many scorched, dehydrated produce is “Pilgrim,” 2020–, an ongoing collection of severed ceramic heads. Whereas one has a penis grotesquely shoved into its mouth, one other seems to be drowning within the gallery’s concrete flooring—all of those entities appear to be trapped in a tortured, Boschian hell with no hope of salvation. Hanging on the wall above this scene of scatological depravity are 4 low-relief tiles that spell out the phrase “dwelling,” like a rebarbative welcome signal, in a medieval font paying homage to illuminated manuscripts.

Maybe much more intimate than the thought of “dwelling” are these tactile options of an iPhone (microphone, lock button, digital camera) with which we’re by no means out of contact. Enlarged renderings of the gadget’s varied elements, organized into an approximate grid, present up in iPhones, 2018, one in all Miller’s massive taxonomic work. Whereas the canvas’s papyrus-inspired reds, browns, and yellowed whites serve to aesthetically unite the disjunctures characterizing the exhibition by documenting a relic of the up to date (on this occasion, fashions created previous to the work’s date), the piece foreshadows the immanent archaism of its topic, and that of all issues—together with humanity—within the lengthy, relentless arc of historical past.


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