Patrick Heide Contemporary Art presents Teacher’s Pet, Dillwyn Smith’s second solo exhibition at the gallery.
Smith’s latest exhibition Teacher’s Pet is a result of a long journey experimenting with materials, pigments, colour and light. His recent oeuvre broadly belongs to the realm of colour field abstraction. Yet Smith has developed a distinctly organic and sensual manner more connected to the spiritually charged surfaces of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko than the tradition of the British colour field painters.
In his Placebo series, Smith has given preference to the pure properties of textiles over painting on canvas or the cut and re-stitched canvases from his previous gallery exhibition Dirty Linen. Smith uses the “language of painting” by juxtaposing asymmetrical stretched pieces of nylon and Dishdasha cloth, held in place with machine stitching. Instead of the colour being applied, it is the colour embedded in the fabric that defines the composition and its mood. The fabrics possess great luminescence thanks to the light susceptibility of the thin tissues and the permeability of semi-transparent fabrics that absorb the light moving across the textiles, bringing the colours to life. The works expand beyond their borders, an effect reinforced by the visibility of the wooden stretchers that reveal a more physical level of the kaleidoscopic composition and connect it to the space they are in. A sense of gravity arises from the works that redefines the relationship between the viewer, the art work and the world beyond.
The upstairs gallery will display Smith’s The Book series which was inspired by a visit to Skellig Michael off the west coast of Ireland while first in residency at the Cill Rialaig project in 2014, this is an ongoing body of work titled Desire for Hermitage. The books are developed from folded, hand-made papers of different sizes, standing upright like open books, the insides covered in diluted pigments. These sculptural arrangements are complemented with prints of close-up views extracting details of the luminescent, warping pages.
Although Smith introduces a sculptural element, colour and sensitivity towards the material remain at the centre of his endeavour. Reduced to the essence, it is the work’s simplicity that determines its intensity. The light that moves on the paper illuminates its coarse surface and reflects onto the unpainted pages and the surrounding area, simultaneously casting shadows. The working method is immediate and intuitive, gestures that play with the natural properties of the materials and render them poetic.
The titles itself alludes to a darker side of Smith’s urge to create such simple and beautiful works.
Dillwyn Smith’s (born 1958, London) work has been exhibited widely throughout UK and Europe, with recent solo exhibition at Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre in Latvia, and the Leighton House Museum in London. He is included in important international private and public collections such as British Council in Berlin, the Daugavpils Mark Rothko Art Centre in Latvia and the Delfina Studios Trust, Deutsche Bank and Unilever PLC collections in London, amongst others.