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Paul Anthony Smith, Dog an Duppy Drink Rum, 2020-2021. Unique Picotage. Image Courtesy of the Artist and Jack Shainman Gallery, New York

Paul Anthony Smith: Standing In


October 2022—March 2023


We have come to expect perspective in photography—revealing and capturing the respective subject/s for our visual pleasure and apprehension. Jamaica-born, New York-based artist Paul Anthony Smith makes photo-based works that push back against these colonizing assumptions while simultaneously introducing a network of added layers to navigate. Smith does so by employing his previous training in ceramics to disturb and modify the pictorial surface, using a series of sharp, hand-crafted tools to re-sculpt the image and thicken its meaning. This process of “picotage” is performed upon otherwise unassuming photos of people and places Smith has encountered upon his travels through the Caribbean—mixing vibrant scenes of Carnivale with casual views of friends gathering. In so doing, creating migratory constellations of ethereal veils via hundreds of picked edges, Smith evokes armor and embellishment at once.  More recent work sees the artist painting the dark contours of chain link fence upon sun-tinted photos of tropical vistas, thereby raising questions of access and inclusion for those who live within the diaspora. In the process, Smith finds reflections of himself as the macro economy of image sharing collides with very personal (and tactile) sculptural interruption. This exhibition is co-organized with the Kemper Art Museum in St Louis, MO, offering a select mid-career survey of Smith’s powerful trans-disciplinary work accompanied by a catalog.

This exhibition is co-organized with the Kemper Art Museum in St. Louis, offering a select midcareer survey of Smith’s powerful transdisciplinary work accompanied by a catalogue. Paul Anthony Smith: Standing In is curated for the Blaffer Art Museum by Steven Matijcio, Jane Dale Owen Director & Chief Curator.