Stein Creates

About Josh STEIN

Artist Statement


In my current work, I find myself drawn to the use of metallic, iridescent, and fluorescent colors in combination with textures that lift the paint from the canvas, creating what I call deep patterns, almost Jungian in a way because they seem to tap into something deep within us as people.  I strive for my optical and geometric work not to be “just wallpaper” as so much in these genres has often become.  Rather, particularly in my agitprop and my Four Elements series, I seek to force a reckoning with the artwork as a presence unto itself, and the use of these more exotic acrylic mediums really produces a moment of active presencing both in person and via digital reproduction.  I am continuing to explore where the idea of line itself creates or demarcates what the eye experiences as that is the essence of my work: fooling the eye into seeing things it never imagined could exist, and then going beyond fooling into willing participation in a different way to see the world around us, externally and internally.


As such, these are primal works focusing on vision, order, and patterning, the palette-knifed metallics creating a deliberate shimmering effect, necessitating multiple viewpoints to appreciate fully and requiring an active participation in the art’s presencing, which is why my most abstract of forms come alive on the canvas, imbued with an incomparable, unique energy.  I am thus attempting to re-orient what "wine country" art can and should be. Rather than tourist-driven imagery, I bring more formal approaches to the surroundings and equally allow them to inspire me in ways both direct and indirect. Optical Art is participatory--the viewer must contribute, and does so individually and idiosyncratically--in order for the pieces to function anywhere close to the creators' intentions. That looseness constrained by interaction is the interesting space I am exploring and hoping to showcase. 

Recent Public Work


Solo Shows & Exhibitions


Napa County Library Solo Installation and Reception, including Artist Talk

Napa, CA -- November 2021


Recent Fluorescents & Metallics

Diafano Art

Madrid, SP -- March 1st to March 13th, 2021


Napa County Library Solo Installation and Reception, including Artist Talk

Napa, CA -- August 2020


Group Shows & Exhibitions


Jewish Authenticity and Identity Exhibition Curated by Ori Z. Soltes

Jewish Artists of the National Capital Region & DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

Washington, DC -- Spring 2021


“Light” Group Exhibition

CICA Museum

Seoul, SK -- April 21st to May 9th, 2021


Happy 2021 Group Exhibition

Diafano Art

Madrid, SP -- January & February 2021


“A Lot Can Happen In a Year” Group Show

d | a | c -- design art concepts 

Miami, FL -- December 10th to January 21st, 2021


“Reigning Chaos” Group Exhibition

Sarah J Wilson Art Collective

Chicago, IL -- December 2020


“Creative Resilience: Art & Mental Health in the Time of Coronavirus”

Fresh A.I.R Gallery

Columbus, OH -- November 9th to December 18th, 2020


“Artistic Creation in Times of Covid-19” Group Exhibition

Diafano Art

Madrid, SP -- October & November 2020


8th Annual Coaster Show

Gallery 30 South

Pasadena, CA -- October 2020


"Quo Vadis" Group Show

Van Der Plas Gallery

NYC, NY -- September & October 2020


“An Overwhelming Experience: The Human -  Earth Relationship” Group Exhibition

d | a | c concepts 

Miami, FL -- July 23rd to September 24th, 2020


Covid Group Show

Arts Council Napa Valley

Virtual Art Gallery -- June 2020 onwards


“Sanctuary Cities and the Politics of the American Dream”

Creative Arts Workshop

New Haven, CT -- October 3rd, 2019


Ish Arts and Culture Festival Juried Competition

Cincinnati, OH -- September 22, 2019


“Two Moving Parts” Year-long Installation

TEAM Lewis

San Diego, CA -- September 2019 to September 2020


In Print


"The Truth Is Out There I" and "The Truth Is Out There II"

Montana Mouthful's "Out of This World" Issue -- March 15, 2021


“Silent Scream from the Quarantine Days I (It Is What It Is)”

Apero Fine Art -- December 2020


“Silent Scream from the Quarantine Days I (It Is What It Is)”

Sheepshead Review Fall 2020 Issue -- December 2020


“Unlocking II”

“Artists respond to Covid-19: An online gallery from Arts Council Napa Valley”

Napa Valley Register -- October 28th, 2020


“Blake's Riffle”

Whitefish Review Issue 25 -- September 2020


Featured Profile

The KNACK Magazine Issue 62 -- June 2020


“The Four Elements VII”

Phoebe Journal Issue 49.2 -- May 2020


“The Four Elements VIII”

Sheepshead Review Spring 2020 Issue -- April 2020


Cover and Interior Art: “Blake's Riffle” and “Wrent II”

The Freshwater Review Volume 23 -- April 2020


“The Four Elements VIII”

3Elements Literary Review Issue 26: Spring 2020 -- April 2020


Cover art: “‘Camp’ Views I: Texas Border 2019”

Gravitas Poetry Volume 19, Issue 1 -- January 2020


“‘Camp’ Views II: Arizona Border 2019”

Wordpeace Volume 5, Issue 1 -- Winter/Spring 2020


“Lenticular II”

3Elements Literary Review Issue 25: Winter 2020 -- January 2020


Featured Profile

Diáfano Magazine Volume II, Issue 2 -- January 2020


Selections from the “Camp” AgitProp Series

Riza Press’s Inaugural Multimedia Poetry and Art Journal -- January 2020


ARTIST Biography


I am a lifelong multi-mode creative artist, musician, writer, professor, and adult beverage maker. With formal training in calligraphy, graphic design, and color work; more than two decades as a researcher, teacher, and writer in cultural analysis in the vein of the Birmingham and Frankfurt Schools; and a decade and a half as a commercial artist and designer for multiple winery clients; I bring my influences of Pop art, Tattoo flash and lining techniques, and Abstract Surrealism and Expressionism to the extreme edge where graphic design and calligraphy meet the Platonic theory of forms. The resulting metallic inks and acrylics on canvas delight and perplex, moving between the worlds of solidity and abstraction.