Joshua Citarella is a multi-media artist born and based in New York City. Citarella approaches digital media from the perspective of an installation artist, curating his digital prints within a network of sculptural objects. Using materials that mimic the content of his large scale photographs, he extends the universe of his images into an intended gallery context.
In many ways, Citarella is an old-school conceptual artist, using many of the same narrative elements as 1960’s pioneers like Richard Serra. For example, he presents a large-scale chromogenic print of a granite plinth accompanied by a marble tile leaned against the wall. Another natural element he works with is sand, which he houses in specifically designed aluminum grid frames or “hourglasses” which also serve to display his photographs. Furthermore, the fabrication and design of these frames are mirrored in many of his free standing sculptural works.
Bringing natural elements, or elements that mimic nature into a gallery installation is a recurring motif in Citarella’s projects, one that only further summons memories of a particular branch of 1960’s conceptualism called land art. The name itself was somewhat misleading because most land artists were looking for ways to configure natural materials into a developing conceptual language still centered around the gallery space as an end result. This evolving language of the gallery was a curatorial moment. Even though artists were involved in diverse art making practices outside of the gallery, there was a renewed focus on preserving these practices within the gallery, and this led to filling space in inventive ways.
Citarella’s installations are explicitly meant for the gallery context and include colour gradient adhesive vinyls custom made to be mounted on the wall and wrapped around columns. At heart, his arrangements are premeditated for display and slide legibly into a methodology of conceptual art. His process is made distinctly contemporary as digital media provides the bedrock of Citarella’s practice.
Text by JERA MACPHERSON