Proverbs for Paranoids

October 23, 2008

Influenced by the writings of Thomas Pynchon and Tom Wolfe, Smith believes anxiousness is the only intelligent response in our paranoid world. Appealing to the skeptics among us, Smith’s work expresses dissatisfaction with our contemporary world.

Accompanying his flamboyant paintings is a “User’s Manual” to help navigate their landscape. Inspired by Noam Chomsky’s idea that an infinite number of sentences can be formed from a finite number of words undergoing finite changes, Smith has compiled 103 images he has been using for the past three years. Fashioned after IKEA instructions Smith admits it is a bit of a joke, but the manual identifies the origin of his images and creates a series of conventions for Smith.

“Some people think that’s a depressing thing to say painting’s conventional, but the English language is conventional too and people still find interesting things to say with it. So I really like the idea of painting as a language.”

The final component to the exhibition is a series of drawings based upon perhaps the most pervasive modern junk—spam email. He was drawn to their nonsensical phrases used to bypass spam filters. Using the strange words and phrases he’s created drawings of them.

“What’s important is that they’re in essence escapist images…the impulse to formulate these expressions of an escape is somewhat of a common truth. A lot of us are looking for various forms of escape from the world we live in.”

Proverbs for Paranoids will be on display from Sat October 25 – Sat November 15 at Vancouver’s Elissa Cristall Gallery.

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