JESSE LEROY SMITH
'VIGIL' GOLDFISH FINE ART 22nd June - 23rd July
Although Jesse Leroy Smith has shown with Goldfish,Fine Art in many previous mixed exhibitions, ëVigilí will be the artists first solo exhibition at the well renowned gallery.
As a whole, 2007 looks to be a very busy year for this Penzance based artist. February saw Jesse selected as one of the 28 artists to exhibit at the much discussed ëArt Now Cornwallí exhibition at the Tate, St.Ives. and further on in the year Jesse has been selected to show at the Royal Academy, London.
Smith was a student at the RA schools between 1989 and 1992 and influential tutors included Norman Adams, Michael Upton and Jennifer Durrant. Whilst there Smith was awarded the RA travel Scholarship which instigated his continued interest in travelling.
He has made work inspired by trips to Turkey, Greece, Nepal, Norway and Ireland. Recent trips to Berlin, New York and Venice have all informed his current work.
Seeing Renaissance works alongside contemporary artists such as William Kentridge and Marlene Dumas has culminated in Smith creating his own modern iconic images.
Smith uses oil paint in a highly sensitive manner, applied in thin washes over mixed media textures, creating an ephemeral image. His drawings reflect the fleeting and spontaneous nature of figures interacting and focus on the gestures that reveal an individualís character., Jesse has been making a large body of drawings, documenting the life of his family, using images of his children, his work explores the states of being experienced by the young encountering their environment and the symbiotic nature of parenthood.
"The subject matter of my children offers a powerful resource that motivates and challenges the purpose of my work. In my paintings Iím looking for a subtle humour alongside an obsessive or religious devotion to the figure. The act of painting is an ideal way of engaging in the secret of an image. By working through its appearance I want to reach a more visceral and emotional depiction."
Joseph Clarke, director and curator of Goldfish Fine Art says of Smithís work"For me the work of Jesse Leroy Smith successfully attempts to tackle the often difficult divide between adulthood and childhood and the very different vulnerabilities that can come in to play on both sides. As adults we often donít appreciate fully the innocence of childhood, somehow it becomes forgotten. The result is that we often view the actions of children according to our own loss of innocence, we feel vulnerable and forget their vulnerability in turn. To illustrate; I've seen works where Jesse shows a child placing chalk sticks in its mouth- to the child this serves as innocent fun, yet we panic because we envisage the child smoking, our assumptions therefore make it a difficult image to view. Another work of Jesseís that sticks in the mind is a drawing of a child holding a toy gun to its head which is again an obvious illustration of my point. This makes for an interesting lesson, when viewing these sensitive, strong and often subtle works they remind us not only of our childhood, but also of the fact that in some ways we have left it well behind."
'Vigil' previews on Friday 22nd June and runs until 23rd of July, for more details please contact the gallery on 01736 360573 or visit the website www.goldfishfineart.co.uk