Dive Into the Surprising “Daydream” of Artist Josh Sperling

05.31.22 | By
Dive Into the Surprising “Daydream” of Artist Josh Sperling

Artist Josh Sperling’s current exhibition of shaped paintings is on view at Perrotin in New York. Open through June 11th, “Daydream” pushes the possibilities of precision, color, and curiosity through multiple series of joyful works.

Josh Sperling paintings on canvas combine an obsession for color selection with the precision of a CNC router. Each painting feels too perfect to be human but too human to be a computer. All colors are chosen by eye under the natural light of Sperling’s barn in Ithica, New York. Beyond the magic of each individual work, the entire exhibition is perfectly ordered across three floors for a total visual experience worth visiting in real life.

Red 'To Be Titled' painting with floor reflection

To Be Titled, 2022

Measuring over 57-feet across, the looping red “To Be Titled, 2022” anchors the first floor. The expansive room holds multiple monochrome works with forms that seem to defy the properties of canvas. Like mathematical knots that overlap and loop endlessly, the first room invites you to leave your preconceptions of painting at the door.

Installation image with 'To Be Titled' seen from angle

View of Josh Sperling’s exhibition “Daydream” at Perrotin New York, 2022

Blue spiral painting 'Under the Sea'

Under the Sea, 2022

Green 'Over the Field' painting

Over the Field, 2022

Three walls of 'Daydream' painting installation

“Daydream”, 2022

Walking up to the second floor, “Daydream” is a rainbow gradation of color and shape that envelopes all 3 walls. The work feels like a massive jigsaw puzzle of frozen single-cell organisms – unpredictable but perfectly fitting. Though the work doesn’t move, it’s impossible to stand still as your own eyes animate the walls.

Right wall of 'Daydream' installation

“Daydream”, 2022 (detail)

5 square paintings by Josh Sperling

View of Josh Sperling’s exhibition “Daydream” at Perrotin New York, 2022

An adjacent room on the second floor offers a different energy. A series of wavy squares of radiating color resemble Joseph Albers paintings on drugs. Each work invites prolonged examination and consideration of unique color transitions while the three-dimensional surfaces ground these aura-like colors in a strong physical reality.

Orange and Green 'Concentric Square J' painting

Concentric Square J, 2022

Purple and Pink 'Concentric Square D' painting

Concentric Square D, 2022

Finally the high ceilings and central skylight of the 3rd floor are the perfect setting for the most colorful and energetic paintings in the gallery. Sperling’s signature worm-like forms now dance within compacted overlapping freeform shapes.

Third floor installation with visito

View of Josh Sperling’s exhibition “Daydream” at Perrotin New York, 2022

“Jamboree, 2022” (above right) measures 22 feet across and contains areas of texture that look as if two layers of paint have been carved or chipped to reveal both colors. From a distance, these sections appear like the translucent overlapping of colorful two-dimensional shapes.

Painting by Josh Sperling

Josh Sperling

Vertically oriented painting 'Diamond in the Wilderness'by Josh Sperling

Diamond in the Wilderness, 2022

For a glimpse into Sperling’s philosophy, process, and preparation for the exhibition, Perrotin produced a short video (below) that invites you into the artist’s studio and daily practice.

What: Josh Sperling: Daydream
Where: Perrotin, 130 Orchard St, New York NY
When: April 28- June 11, 2022

Installation images photographed by Guillaume Ziccarelli, single works photographed by Farzad Owrang. All images courtesy of the artist and Perrotin.

David Behringer visits over 200 galleries every month to uncover and share the most exciting contemporary art in New York today. Subscribe to his exclusive weekly newsletter at and learn about his private gallery tours. And be sure to check out his YouTube.