November 25, 2003  
Volume 97, Issue 48  

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ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT

Recent Paintings and childhood memories

Exhibit: Recent Paintings
Artist: Michael Smith
Location: Michael Gibson Gallery
Dates: Now to Nov. 29

By Ash Wittig
Gazette Staff

Museum London/2003
UHHH, I THINK IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE ABSTRACT. Michael Smith’s “Constellation Breaking” is one of many works in his Recent Paintings exhibit.

Currently residing and teaching at Dawson College in Montreal, Michael Smith uses his paintings to rehash old memories of childhood fantasies of forests and meadows. A landscape painter, Smith does not focus on detail, but more on the feeling invoked when standing in a lush and serene setting.

His paintings appear almost mossy as the shiny acrylic and oil paints have been laid thickly on the canvas. The painting entitled “In Hiding, The Tender” is a gorgeous yet vague work that looks like a small clearing by a creek in the forest. Smith’s use of colour adds to the effect of the landscape theme; brilliant strokes of earth tones and pastels are reminiscent of the natural wilderness.

“Near Wymondly #2” is the artist’s interpretation of a thick blanket of snow on a forest of pine, with small flecks of brilliant colour which one suspects is the reflection of light off of the snow.

Not all works are so calm; “Sea #3” shows the depiction of a hard looking sea, not so much stormy as it is terribly turbulent and wind blown.

Smith employs the use of many different brush strokes, some thick and dark, others smaller and flecked on. The thicker strokes aid him in reproducing images such as tall trees with many branches, whereas the smaller ones are more useful in areas where there is the hint of light.

The focal point in nearly all of the paintings is the use of white, which brings the viewer’s eye to the break of light through the forest trees or to the foggy horizon ahead. Smith’s images are much like those found in dreams: foggy and smudged colours playing off one another to create a wonderful catharsis.

Recent Paintings emanates a rather nostalgic feeling for something more innocent and pure than what our daily lives seem to embody.

 

 

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