Home » Artists » Anthony Smith, Jr.

Anthony Smith, Jr.

I use abstract painting to explore complex and indefinite moral positions and to tell inscrutable stories. I begin with simple sketches that over time become stylized, coalescing into calligraphic forms contributing to an intricate yet dense topography of layered line work, paint, and collage. Most of my works comprise larger series, which illustrate a theme or communicate visual narratives using a consistent set of patterns, colors and other ephemera that are always placed in a specific order. My sequential process is not unlike comic book art, where individual works can be both edited and hermetic while parts of a larger story. Although private narratives are essential to my creative process, I use them only to the end of producing works that move the viewer to impose his or her own personal experience into them, making for a reception that is as varied and complex as the viewers themselves. I aim in my work to create an orderly-but-exotic universe that invites play by the viewer by simultaneously including familiar and appropriated imagery and then eluding precise or didactic storytelling. My pieces often begin with a set of compositional rules that change over the life of a series as I respond to the materials, initial, guiding narrative, and the development of my mark making. My goal in changing elements in a series is to toy with, or even to thwart, the viewer’s expectations in order to spark inquiry into the role that memory plays as ballast for visual understanding.

Featured Work