Tell us about yourself.
Joshua Hershman is an American born artist dedicated to developing new techniques of glass working that combine optical physics with the fluidity of glass to make his contemporary sculpture. By harnessing light though hand-polished lenses, Hershman employs unique methods of casting, coldworking, and photography in his boundary pushing work. Being born with no peripheral vision or depth perception, decades of vision therapy led him to have a lifelong fascination with the complex nature of the visual system and the science of light and optics. By using cameras themselves as frames for his experimental photographic processes, Hershman asks us to look more closely into the simple act of taking a photograph. His work focuses on the significance that film and photography have played on the development of contemporary global culture. Originally from Colorado, Joshua Hershman was born in 1981 and first began working with glass at the age of 17. In 2004, he graduated from the Craft and Design Program at Sheridan College in Ontario, Canada. In 2008, he went on to earn a BFA with Distinction from the California College of the Arts in Oakland, California. Most recently, he completed the Master’s program at the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, in Sculptural/Dimensional Studies. In 2009, Josh had his first solo show at Pismo Glass In Denver and went on to participate in many group exhibitions and art fairs including Sofa Chicago, the Armory Show, Art Hamptons, SF Art Market, the Habitat Invitational, and many others. He loves to teach and has led workshops and lectures at, California College of the Arts, Public Glass in San Francisco, Pittsburg Glass Center, and at D&L Glass Supply in Denver. Hershman has received numerous awards, was included in the Bullseye e-merge international glass competition, Young Glass 2017, and can be found in numerous private collections. His work is included in the permanent collection of the Ebeltoft Museum in Denmark and The National Liberty Museum in Philadelphia. He has been invited to participate in several artist-in-residence programs including North Lands Creative Glass in Scotland, D&L Art Glass in Colorado, the Appalachian Center for Craft in Tennessee, and most recently completed a semester-long residency at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. Currently, Josh’s work is being shown at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma for the nation’s first LGBTQ+ glass exhibition titled “Transparency”. He lives and operates a private studio in Oakland, California where he makes his work and also operates the Glass Foundry, which provides casting and coldworking services to other artists.
What draws you to the material you work with?
Casting glass is something I can do in isolation in my studio which has been a huge advantage during the pandemic. Without the need for a furnace or lots of facilities, this process allows me to make a highly challenging sculpture without the need for a team of assistants or expensive equipment. I think what draws me most to lost wax casting is the constant challenge and problem solving that is constantly required to get a high-quality casting.
What themes do you pursue in your work, and why have you chosen the processes that you use in your work?
My work offers meditations on the complexities within the concept of photography and the repercussions of the camera’s impact on culture. The incredibly creative and destructive nature of photography is both inspiring and alarming to me. It has helped bring our global society closer together but also driven us desperately apart. It can teach us or deceive us, show us the furthest reaches of space, or the closest representations of matter itself. It is these contrasting realities that exist within photography, which inspire my works of contemporary art.
What is your dream project?
I am currently in the process of expanding my Oakland studio to offer free studio access for low income and bipoc artists in the San Francisco bay area. My dream is to offer free kiln space for glass artists to realize individual projects in cast glass during this strange time. Art has been the only thing keeping me sane, and I’m lucky to have a studio with power and lots of kilns. It’s not a residency, but you could call it that if you wanted. Contact hershmanglass.com for details.
What is something about you that most people don’t know?
I am Abraham Maslow’s grandson
Why are you a member of GAS?
To stay connected with the community that I love.