his third solo show with Western Exhibitions, GEOFFREY
TODD SMITH returns with a group of vivid, intensely patterned
abstract paintings in a show titled “Looker,” which
references both the viewer's participation and the attractiveness
of each painting. The show opens on Friday, September 7 with a
free public reception from 5 to 8pm.
employs seemingly simple structures in his work. Common geometric
elements – circles, ellipses, ovals and dots – inhabit
a tight grid in visually confounding and colorfully explosive
compositions. In addition to his signature intricate and intimate
gel pen patterns atop gouache-painted shapes, Smith has begun
to experiment with a variety of surfaces and paints – adding
texture, dimensionality and glossy enamel – in a new series
of paintings on panel.
Within Smith’s colorful, fetishistic surfaces lurks a devotion
to the challenges of abstract beauty and its ability to confound
expectation and provoke desire. Smith searches, meanders and daydreams
to find vibrant and colorful discoveries to entice the audience,
of which he is also a member. Each composition is treated like
a game with self-imposed rules and limitations regarding color
and form. Though there is a grid present, its rigid structure
and predictability operates as a foe to Smith’s often erratic
and unplanned compositions. The hard fought arrangements of directions,
distractions, material integrations and interferences result in
a record of the struggle.
Two paintings in this show provide clues to Smith’s thought
and working process. A Wester Easter (enamel, acrylic
and gouache on panel, 20 x 16 inches) consists of four segments
rotating around a central black form. Within this center shape,
matte black voids contrast with glossy black dots that appear
to rise above the surface. The surrounding sections string ellipses
together to form stuttering stripes that alternate browns and
grays with cool mint, cream and fleshy pinks. Zig-zagging strands
of bright glossy blue glide lightly above the softer tones, acting
as symbolic energy emanating from the dark mysterious center.
Sneak Charmer, an all-gouache painting divided into thirds,
references the horizon with its alternating bands of cold blues
and earthy browns. The middle segment, like a storm system cutting
through a calm sky, provides interference with harsh bands of
interspersing blues and grays. Each third of the painting has
additional layers of vibrating strands that both direct and distract.
Wavy repetitive bands stream across the top, signaling a loss
of horizontal hold. Colorful strands that end in arrow points
punctuate the other two sections of the painting. This complex
composition strives for a disjointed, hypnotic experience.
Geoffrey Todd Smith's intensely patterned and
intricate painting/drawing hybrids have recently been included
in solo shows at Luis de Jesus Los Angeles and Nudashank in Baltimore
and in group shows at The Green Gallery in Milwaukee, the Hyde
Park Art Center in Chicago, Geoffrey Young Gallery in Massachusetts
and Baer Ridgway in San Francisco. He will have work up concurrently
with this show in “Afterimage” at the DePaul Art Museum,
running through November 18. His work is in the collections of
Hallmark Inc. in Kansas City, the Jager Collection in Amsterdam,
the South Bend Art Museum in Indiana and Harper College in Illinois
and has been written about in art ltd, the Chicago Tribune, and
Chicago Magazine, who called him one of the "rising stars
we should be collecting now". Smith lives and works in Chicago.