Barry Ross Smith
It is hard to justify something as ridiculous and as old as oil painting is. Its long history seems so redundant in today’s society, superfluous even, with the plethora of images and imagery competing and saturating our everyday lives. To attempt to connect to others through this ancient medium, alone in a studio, seems almost anti-technological in this interconnected age. But, perhaps this space and time that the artist inhabits, pouring over a new artwork, is what also creates the space for a viewer to become quiet, to contemplate reflect and possibly to reconnect.
Even though life now means connecting to, watching and witnessing a constant stream of imagery vying for attention and created instantaneously with ever new technological media and devices. I find painting to be the most direct, expressionistic, authentic and responsive medium. Viscous and slick oil paint, smeared by the subtle movements of the hand and decisions of the eye, is a complex, idiosyncratic signature. Each mark matches the temperament of the painter on that day - exactly. You can’t make a mark that isn’t you and each choice is exposed directly onto the surface. It is a frustrating, difficult and exhilarating way to pass time.