Josh Goldberg was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. As a child he became one of the youngest members of the Philadelphia Art Museum, where he would spend every Saturday afternoon (and days ditching school) ‘copying’ the old masters into his small sketchbooks.
Most days Josh went to a nearby park drawing from nature. At home he stayed in his room creating cartoons. It was not until he attended the Tyler School of Fine Arts that he began formal art training. There he experimented with a variety of techniques and was fortunate enough to receive instruction from teachers such as Leon Golub and David Smith.
During this time, Josh exhibited locally in group shows. It was also at this time that he began serious study of Chinese and Japanese art, Zen and Buddhism, which eventually took him to Japan on a fellowship.
In 1979 Josh, his wife Anita and their two daughters, moved to Tucson, Arizona where Josh began work at the University of Arizona Museum of Art. His work brought him into direct contact with local and national artists and their work. It was in the Southwest that his field of vision became contracted and ascetic, giving form to his series of ‘microworks’ — small haiku-like abstractions made from bits of trash, often based or related to his favorite poets and writers: Paul Celan, Edmond Jabes, Walt Whitman, Thoreau, and Basho. Gradually his work moved into photo-collage and laser printing combining surreal-like imagery and his own writings, culminating in the solo show ‘Anonymyths’.
Exhibitions of Josh’s works include large-scale, abstract paintings in acrylic and oils, oversized works on paper, and large charcoal drawings. Though there is an absence of ‘narrative’ and figuration, his powerful yet lyrical works recall Beckett’s observation about Joyce: “He doesn’t write about something. He writes something.”