Much of the imagery in Josh Tonsfeldt’s “Adrenaline”—even the sculptural work on view arguably belongs on an expanded photographic spectrum—appears shrouded in a haze. Tonsfeldt uses an elaborate mixture of materials, including plaster and carbon fiber, as the substrates for image transfers. Many of the images are barely-there, abstractions hovering in a gray field. Others document the inexplicable beauty of what seem like chance encounters (a glimpse at a tattoo parlor; an airplane interior): a testament, perhaps, to the omnipresence of cameras and the sheer ease of recording. Some works incorporate elements of disassembled screens, like liquid crystals and light-focusing prism film. The modes of viewing engendered by our glowing digital devices may be a counterpoint to Tonsfeldt’s material experiments, in which the image almost has to compete with its crumbling plaster support. The way the work in “Adrenaline” shifts between lo-fi and relatively crisp depictions suggests a resemblance to the experience of memory. (Despite the show’s novel technological trappings one suspects Tonsfeldt’s core interests may be squarely Proustian.) Toward the rear of the gallery, a small image apparently shows the hand of the artist’s wife shortly after she gave birth to their son. This is the sharpest image in the show, its color and warmth slicing through the layers of mediation that Tonsfeldt imposes elsewhere.
Pictured: Josh Tonsfeldt: BOM – DAC, 2015, UV-cured pigment print on hydrocal, spray paint, liquid crystal, pigment inks and paper, 50 by 64 inches. Courtesy the artist and Simon Preston, New York.