Josh Rush: Right of Sanctuary

You may have seen Josh Rush along some of the many favorable bike routes Indianapolis has to offer. An eminent plein air painter in the area, it’d be short-sighted to assume that he was ‘recording’ his journeys. Complementary in concept to Johnny McKee’s work in the Harrison Gallery, Rush’s show Right of Sanctuary in the Speck Gallery functions on an internal frequency as well. While McKee’s paintings have become atemporal to external reference, Rush has continued to develop his craft of painting through acute sensory response.


Rush looks for moments to exist in along the geography he traverses. Within his practice, a philosophy of being is continually being refined. What does it mean to be in a copse, or on a slab of concrete, not just as a sensory experience but where the movement of the landscape and variations of light timed by nature cut through the static of what is not true? The development of metaphysics, ethics, and spirituality is congruent with man’s journey through the landscape.

Viewers should not focus on ‘picturesque’ as much as ‘vitality’, in color discernment and paint application. His smallest paintings, which he does on site are rapid and show a resonance with color harmony, both observed and invented. Rush’s larger paintings show off his facility and commitment to refining a sense of compositional harmony. As a painter rooted in the observational experience, I’m drawn to Rush’s practice and have a growing excitement for his process’s development.

The larger Rush’s painting becomes, the more surprising his inherent mark making and compositions manifest. Both fresh and soulful, intuitive and deliberate, A Right of Sanctuary is an important narrative within the plein air fever sweeping Indianapolis. I would encourage admirers and collectors to chat with Josh. For those that know how to mine substance out of everyday experience and relish in the wisdom of finding moments of solace, a hum of kinship will be found with him.