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Howard Smith: Marks in Time

Jane Lombard Gallery, New York

Fri 7 Jan 2022 to Sat 19 Feb 2022

Artist: Howard Smith

Jane Lombard Gallery presents Marks in Time, an exhibition of new paintings and works on paper by Howard Smith. Since the 1960s, Smith has dedicated his practice to exploring how brushstrokes and marks accrue to make color, space, shape and light. An abstract painter, he was a member of the Radical Painting group meeting in New York in the 1980s.

In Smith’s paintings the brushstroke is just as important as the paint applied to the surface. The mark, then, is always working with the plane to elicit light. Here, even with the use of only one color, the applied color is always interacting with the ground to “make” a new color. The artist primarily paints in his studio by natural light, which will vary depending on the time of day and time of year. Time becomes a visible theme within the work. The relationship between what is going on in the painting and external light is critical in how the viewer experiences the work. The surfaces of his works are constructed by individual dots, strokes and lines - an additive process that requires time not only in application but within periods of non-action as well for layers to dry.

This need for both action and non-action in his process often means that Smith will work on multiple pieces at one time. He embraces relationality within his bodies of work - one series often informs another series or set of singular works to forge a kind of kinship or lineage. The artist refers to bodies of work as such - families, beginnings and universes - and their presentation is arranged so that the works have a voice as both individuals and parts of a whole. His ongoing series of “Beginnings,” for instance, applies his painting methodology to very small formats. Each work within a “beginning” may only be a few inches across, but composed of complex layers in color and stroke, like a cell under a microscope. Smith’s series of “Universes,” the predecessor to “Beginnings,” explores the same idea in a slightly larger form with more complex, detailed compositions - a generational devolution, distilling process to its essence.

The exhibition’s title, Marks in Time, highlights this notion of temporal lineage in Smith’s process. The end results of his paintings are never predetermined, in fact, frequently he decides to leave them in a state of suspension, or balanced tension. For him, making is a slow, careful process. The artist places great importance on giving the work a pulse; creating living, breathing macrocosms, universes with different languages and ways of being.

About the Artist
Howard Smith (b. 1943, Chicago, IL) lives and works in New York City and Pine Bush NY. Smith earned his B.A. from Colorado College in 1965 and went on to graduate school at Stanford University in 1965 & 1966. Smith has also resided in Maine, Massachusetts, Chicago, and Paris. He has taught at the University of Colorado, Pratt Institute, School of Visual Arts, New York University and CUNY College of Staten Island, where he continues to teach. His work has been exhibited at Williams College Art Museum, Williamstown, MA; The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, Colorado Springs, CO; Kunstmuseum Villa Zanders, Bergisch Gladbach, Germany; Kunstmuseum Appenzell, Appenzell, Switzerland; Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia, PA; Kimmel Galleries, NYU, New York, NY; The Milton Resnick and Pat Passlof Foundation, New York, NY; MAMCO, Geneva, Switzerland and Magazzini Di Palazzo Gatti, Viterbo, Italy.

all images © the gallery and the artist(s)

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