Casa de Costa is pleased to announce Protect from Light, a solo photography exhibition by artist Josh McNey. The show at Casa de Costa marks the debut of the firm’s new salon and studio at 11 Stone Street in historic Lower Manhattan.
Protect from Light features nearly thirty unpublished photographs, including landscapes, still life and portraits primarily from McNey’s work with college wrestlers, professional bull riders and other athletes. Showcasing just some selections from a decade-long practice, Protect from Light provides the first opportunity to see a substantial collection of finished work by the artist.
McNey’s landscape and still life work comprises almost half of this exhibition and reminds viewers of the serene beauty of the everyday. The images also evoke questions about the relationship between nature and engineering, the gendering of dominance and submission, and the transience of our daily lives.
Josh McNey grew up in a suburban enclave of Los Angeles, where he developed an early interest in photography; his subjects included his three brothers, the Southern California landscape and small still life arrangements. At the age of eighteen, he enlisted in the US Marines and served in an elite Force Reconnaissance unit for more than seven years. During that time he expanded his practice, shooting editorial portraits and increasingly, men. His personal portrait work has evolved into a hybrid of diary and staging, creating what writer Alistair McCartney described as, “the ideal universe inhabited by the ideal boy.” McNey’s male subjects evoke an unmistakable sense of strength and classical beauty tempered by vulnerability.
Speaking about the exhibition McNey said, “Being afraid of my sexuality made me afraid to stare. I didn’t want to be ‘caught’ looking at guys. I think this teenage strategy of visual chastity made it all the more urgent that I find a way to legitimize staring. Photography became for me both an apparatus and a metaphor for coming out as a gay man. Showing the work is one more step in that direction.”
Josh McNey has lived in various places in the US and now resides in New York City. His portrait work has appeared in Tokion, Out, XLR8R, K48, Paris/LA and other select magazines and has been exhibited in group shows in the US and Europe. This is his first solo exhibition.