31 March to 6 May 2012
Growing up in Geelong Gary Smith was immersed in its industrial landscape and history. His early memories are anchored in the bay and port areas of Geelong. Smith recalls long hours spent in a trailer-sailer drifting and observing the chemical refineries, cranes, working harbour transportation, storage areas and shipping lanes.
Industrial desire fuses Smith's contemporary experiences of industries that ring Corio Bay with memories. His concept of the 'industrial' extends beyond imagery to encompass the artist's working processes. Smith creates composite works, overlaid accreting films of pigment and paint, fusing traditional glaze painting techniques with contemporary image technologies. Smith's images hover on the edge of focus and of recognition in a seesaw of pearlescent flares and interference. Industrial desire represents an ongoing exploration of a theme he first considered in 2009.
A number of Smith’s works isolate and frame fragments of this bayscape or juxtapose them with incongruent decorative elements to imbue them with poetic allure that transcends their industrial austerity and functional intention.
Having studied in the early 1980s with the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, Smith then completed his Masters in Visual Arts at the Australian National University in 2005. His current style of painting has evolved from an earlier series of works depicting fragments of skies such as those found in romantic landscapes of the nineteenth century. The artist has also studied landscape painting and its relationship with scroll paintings from Japan. He has been influenced by the atmospheric works of Turner and Constable, particularly in their renderings of the firmament and in their use of painterly techniques.
Since 1983, Smith has been included in a range of group and individual exhibitions; including with Artereal in Rozelle, Sydney, Counihan Gallery in Brunswick, Melbourne and the Canberra Contemporary Art Space in Manuka, Canberra. Smith currently lives and works in Canberra, where he is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Art at the Australian National University.
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