Joshua Highter’s process-driven, abstract paintings focus on the intersection between observation and memory. Highter utilizes drawing, painting, and printmaking to create a richly textured surface where the visual space plays with tensions between the familiar, observed experiences, and the foreign, distant memories that are remnants of those experiences.


Highter earned his MFA in painting from Indiana University, Bloomington and currently lives in Takoma Park, Maryland. Prior to moving to the DC metro area, the artist lived in Berkeley, California and spent three years teaching drawing and painting as a visiting lecturer at the University of California, Davis. Prior to moving to California, he taught drawing and painting at Herron College of Art and Design in Indianapolis. He has been an artist in residence at Root Division, in San Francisco, and at the Vermont Studio Center. He currently spends his days as “Dad,” exploring with his son Aurele, and teaches at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC), Smithsonian Associates, and at the George Washington Corcoran Center for the Arts. Highter is originally from Vermont and will always call the Green Mountains “home”.


These paintings are familiar places, landscapes, new spaces that are rugged and untamed. They are inventions shaped by forces of society, economics, technology, and nature, moving in a trajectory of constant re-invention. The paint surface and the pictorial incidents are in a constant state of transformation affected by daily observations and interactions. Forms are left to float in space, straight lines
zig-zag and curve, parts speed up, others slide slowly by, patterns are left un-connected to forms. Time and space is not linear.

“Piles of Stuff” are things I have been tripping over in my own home, things that have been accumulating, things that for good or bad I have to deal with. These piles are manmade and formed by loved ones, they are landmarks formed by extreme forces of nature, they are permanent, they are fragile. In this current body of work and in prior works, I have been interested in exploring the struggle between chaos and order. The work is exploratory both in the act of looking for subject matter and in depicting and defining what the subject matter is. There is a paradox in the work, in the desire to preserve a sense of the familiar while also embracing the idea that memories are constructed and in many ways alien from the original experience. These simultaneous desires have led me to question the pictorial representation of subject matter within the work.

Inevitably, I’m left with mismatched and homely bits.

“where do these go? what can I make out of these?

I don’t want to throw anything out. These can serve a purpose.

My hands start moving and the pieces are fitting back together.


Slow Build, 2014


I’m inspired by the landscape and how it is always in a constant state of change. With that as a general running narrative for the work, I’m also very interested in the process of painting and the various materials and applications within the tradition of painting.

Geometry Exposed, 2012

Spaces are fragile and intentional temporary, reflective of spaces that surround us.


My plan with this Fuller project installation is to take the themes that I am most interested in now-those of formation destruction and reconstruction along with this idea of the landscape as an alien entity and take them to a point that pushes my exploration of what a painting can be even further I will do this with 3 dimensional pieces that explore the constructions I have been experimenting with on the canvas. It will explore both paint in the traditional sense, as well as explore connections between the picture plane and the viewer’s space


New Things Are Forming, 2010


The experience of witnessing mass riots that took place in Greece in 2008 had a dramatic impact on my work at the time. Ideas of explosions and things breaking apart and re-forming took hold of my work. While traveling the primary form of my practice was collage and drawing. Collage and the modular structures of excavations sites allowed for the depiction of multiple narratives and vantage points to happen simultaneously.


2008  Indiana University, Bloomington, IN. MFA, Painting

2001  Portfolio Center, Atlanta, GA. Illustration

1997  University of Vermont, Burlington, VT. BS, Community Development and Applied Economics, Applied Design minor

Selected One-Person Exhibitions

2017 Intimately Unfamiliar, Creative Alliance, Rothschild Gallery, Baltimore, MD

2014  Slow Build, ODC, San Francisco, CA

2012  Geometry Exposed, Fuller Projects, Bloomington, IN

2010  New Things Are Forming, Art Hospital, Bloomington, IN

2008  Re-Constructing a Place, Indiana University Museum, Bloomington, IN

2006  Figures on Paper, Art Space, Burlington, VT

2003  Landscapes, Ilsley Public Library, Middlebury, VT

Selected Group Exhibitions

2017 9th National Juried Show, Prince Street Gallery, New York, NY
          Juried by Stuart Shils

2015  Summer, Prince Street Gallery, NY, NY

          stARTup Art Fair, San Francisco, CA

          Taste Auction, Root Division, San Francisco, CA

          14th Annual Art Auction, Root Division, San Francisco, CA

2014  Painting Now, Southwest University of Visual Arts, Tucson, AZ

          13th Annual Art Auction, Root Division, San Francisco, CA

2013  RISK, Berkeley Art Center, Berkeley, CA

          12th Annual Art Auction, Root Division, San Francisco, CA

2011  Resurfacing, Paper Crane Gallery, Bloomington, IN

2010  Winter’s Edge, Penelec-Bowman-Megahan Gallery, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA

           Faculty Exhibition, Herron School of Art and Design, Indianapolis, IN

2009  Faculty Exhibition, Robert T. Wright Gallery, College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL

2008  MFA Painting Exhibition, SOFA Gallery, Bloomington, IN

2007  Italy Books, Indiana University Fine Arts Library, Bloomington, IN

           MFA Painting Exhibition, SOFA Gallery, Bloomington, IN

2005  Small Painting Exhibition, Mary Bryan Memorial Gallery, Jeffersonville, VT

2004  South End Art Hop, Juried Exhibition, Maltex Building, Burlington, VT

           Process–Progress, Firehouse Gallery, Burlington, VT

2003  Doll-Anstadt Gallery, Burlington, VT

2002  Friends and Family, MPG Gallery, Boston, MA

           Still Life Paintings, MPG Gallery, Boston, MA


2015 Headlands Center for the Arts Affiliate Artist Program, Sausalito, CA - Declined

2013-15  Root Division, San Francisco, CA

2007  TC Steele, Nashville, IN - Declined

2004  Firehouse Gallery, Burlington, VT


2015  O-plus-A interview, 2015

2014  ROOT DIVISION TALKS, Josh Highter: Slow Build, by Amy Cancelmo. September 5, 2014

2013  DAILY SERVING, Fan Mail: Josh Highter, by Celie Dailey. February 22, 2013

Public Collections

Indiana University, Bloomington, IN


2013  Headlands Center for the Arts Tournesol Award, Semi-finalist, Sausalito, CA

2007  Grant in Aid, Indiana University Bloomington, IN

2007  Indiana University Travel Fellowship, Florence, Italy

2007  Indiana University Travel Fellowship, Thomaston, ME

2007-08  Associate Instructor Appointment, Indiana University Bloomington, IN

Public Lectures / Visiting Artist Critiques

2015 University of Kansas, Department of Visual Arts, Joshua Highter: Artist Talk, Lawrence, KS

2014  Visiting Artist Lecture, University of California, Davis, Davis, CA

2014  MFA Studio Critiques, Mills College, Oakland, CA

Teaching Experience

2017-    The University of the District of Columbia, Washington, DC

              Adjunct Faculty: Figure Drawing, Visual Thinking

2017-    Corcoran Arts Continuing Education Programs, The George Washington University, Washington, DC

               Instructor: Painting

2016-     Smithsonian Associates, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC

               Instructor: Drawing, Oil Painting, Watercolor

2013-15 Lecturer, University of California, Davis

               Beginning Drawing (Art 002), Beginning Painting (Art 007),
               Intermediate Painting (Art 101), Advanced Painting (Art 107)

2010-12 Adjunct Assistant Professor, Herron School of Art and Design, IUPUI, Indianapolis, IN

               Drawing III (D201), Drawing IV (D202), Drawing V (D301),
               Intro to Computer Imagery (A261), Intro to Computer Imagery II (A262),
               2D-Design (F121)

2009-10 Adjunct Assistant Professor, College of Lake County, Grayslake, IL

               Drawing I (ART 124), Art Appreciation (ART 121)

2010      Lecturer, The Illinois Institute of Art, Schaumburg, IL

               Color Theory (FC 112), Drawing I (FC102)

2007-08 Associate Instructor, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN

               Drawing I (S200)

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