Andrew Smith: Art in Isolation

Andrew Smith is a Wales based painter working consistently with colour by means of exhibition projects and exploring the cultural context of exchange by establishing links with international partners (most recently, Latvia, Australia, and India, 2018 to 2019). Andrew has worked on public art projects and commissions exploring colour in terms of location and scale.

"The lockdown came at a time when I was planning to be in the studio for a time of production as for the past two years I have been travelling on residency placements and, in most cases, new work has been left with the host collections as part of the terms of residency. Therefore as the light and weather began to improve, my desire to work in the studio was high. I began making large scale drawings in February using black, white and grey acrylic to explore gesture, expressive application of media and tonal relations.

The work of Pierre Soulages and Franz Kline have been constant sources of inspiration and now seemed to be the time to embark on a redefined language in my work, moving away from my previous geometric forms. I worked on large boards with three sheets of paper on each, moving from one to the other, using gravity and the fluidity of the paint as a means to generate expression. I enjoy working in series; each flows into the other and there is no direction to them in a linear sense. Backwards and forwards, top to bottom, drawings are worked on in an unconscious semi-automatic way; responsive to what is already present; cancelling, adding and changing at the same instant.

After this process I embarked on a series of oil paintings, allowing the viscosity of paint to be developed and adapted in as broad a range as possible to enable the most fluid mark. I found myself applying paint and leaving it, so an element of overlay would be possible. I had never done this before and using long liner brushes, the paint line distorted but with a tension separate from the direct hand drawn brush mark, that appeared as if it has developed on its own accord. This is always a priority for me; that paint and colour look as if they have just come together. The paintings, at the time of writing, are still drying (oil paint takes six months plus) but the results look promising.

I showcased these works recently in response to a call out by A4 Luxlakes Art Museum who have devised a project called 'Artist Voice' for the lockdown. Participants were asked to answer a number of questions by video. I answered the questions with a one minute video of the everyday journey to the studio and sketch of my work in the space. The video can be seen here.

You can see more of Andrew's work on his website, or follow him on Instagram.

CuratorSpace are currently featuring articles by artists, curators and organisations who want to share their experiences of responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, whether that is artists using their practice as a way of exploring new boundaries of isolation, or as a way to connect more broadly with their communities. We are also interested in hearing from curators and organisations who are offering support to artists and audiences during this time.

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