Seven Rain Paintings
OHWOW is pleased to announce Seven Rain Paintings, and just as the show’s title implies, Smith will present seven of his recent rain paintings, surrounded in the exhibition by an installation using material and sound. The individual paintings examine the proximity between artist and yield, and broach conversations of gesture as related to the genre of spontaneous expression. Contrary to theories concerning accidental marks, these canvases, fully orchestrated in their execution, maintain intimacy because of the artist’s intent.
Smith conceived and completed the rain painting series in rural Upstate New York, where he relocated his studio for one year. This experience of seclusion, or disconnection from city-life, resulted in a re-connection with the natural environment and a greater understanding of human temperament. These works, referencing the pattern of precipitation both in their final application and through the method by which the medium is applied to the surface, literally illustrate the effect of coalescence, but also convey a palpable sense of emotional meditation – idiosyncratic and solemn.
Outwardly, the rain paintings associate with anti-figurative and non-objective practice, yet Smith’s exhibition argues with generalizations, such as the aesthetic of chance. Through thoughtful utilization of particular elements within the gallery, he creates a relational environment for the paintings to activate, thus challenging passive experience. For example, layered sound, played via portable stereos, produces a composition of white noise that audibly describes what the paintings optically communicate.
Smith creates work that traverses a spectrum of styles and concerns, from chance to purpose, spare to saturated, sublime to familiar. These visual approaches, or conceptual directives, may combine and overlap in one piece, or spread individually through a body of work – each idea originally segregated, fully integrates when understood as an oeuvre. His work acts as a tangible moment, a chronicle of exploration as he negotiates with existence. He reminds us that an artist’s trajectory is a sensory reflection of individual experience.