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Mitchel Smith at Common Sense

Post #1226 • September 3, 2008, 12:26 PM • 9 Comments

Edmonton, AB - Handsome, nearly monochromatic paintings by Mitchel Smith were on display at Common Sense before my show went up. At nine feet wide, each of them featured a meditative, horizontal push of acrylic, raked like gravel in a Japanese garden. The best of the four was Elemental (not pictured), which allowed for the most incidental color variation in the raking and let an attractive band of orange appear in the background along the bottom edge. Close behind it was Straw on Yellow, with a pleasing swell of paint filling up at the ends of the stroke and a touch of shading at the top. Close-value work like this looks deceptively empty in reproduction, but even in person, the busier internal activity of Elemental points the way forward for this artist rather than the minimalist, somewhat dour landscape of Apodosis. On a side note, it's hard to say anything about a giant purple painting except "hurray."

Comment

1.

opie

September 4, 2008, 4:27 PM

I always tell students to be very careful using any color that combines blue & red but that purple painting looks very good.

2.

dude

September 5, 2008, 9:46 AM

Opie, what's the problem with blue and red together?

3.

opie

September 5, 2008, 12:43 PM

Not blue & red together but blue and red mixed, that is anything from alizarin across purple to violet.

Purple is a "naked power" color, the quintessential ego color. It is the opposite of the earth colors, say, because it hates to cooperate and it craves attention. Paintings need to make things work together and purple resists this more than any other color.

I have no idea why this is, it just is.

Of course it can be subdued or made useful. Mitch Smith has made a greyish violet (? who knows on the small screen) color work beautifully by putting up nothing else but a tiny ragged streak of red along the lower left edge - just the right amount of disruption.

4.

Jack

September 5, 2008, 3:15 PM

Hey, dude, are you really John McCain in disguise? Could we have a National Enquirer thing going on here? Hey Franklin, even if dude's not McCain, what about claiming he is, anyway. I can see it now: cover story in US magazine, "McCain is really a closet artsy type, and not only that, he's a FORMALIST!" I'm telling you, Franklin, you could wind up on Larry King.

5.

opie

September 5, 2008, 8:28 PM

McCain is red, Jack. Obaramabama is blue.

But there's not much possibility of purple there.

6.

1

September 7, 2008, 3:25 PM

with football just starting i'd say these are definitely out of the olitski-bannard-griefen playbook, but all quite nice. i especially like apodosis as a vertical with the neon pink running up the right side. really like all the color on that one. and i hope i am seeing correclty that small "L" of blue/grey in the corner.

7.

1

September 7, 2008, 3:38 PM

this would have been appropriate for a thread from last week that is closed so i will just post it here.

last week, after my walk through the manet and monet rooms in the musee d'orsay on the lower level, this somewhat loud englishman, whose steps happened to coincide with mine, confidently informed his companion that while he did find the pictures done very well from a technical standpoint and also quite good looking, he could not quite go over for them because they did not say much to him in a social context.

sure we have all heard something similar a few times over.

8.

opie

September 7, 2008, 3:58 PM

I'm surprised he coul;d be heard so clearly with his head up his butt like that.

It's a wonder art survives at all.

9.

Jack

September 8, 2008, 6:26 AM

Geez. Why can't these people just go into social work or political activism or whatever will satisfy their, uh, needs, and leave art alone? This is like me complaining that Shakespeare is all very well, but it's not really addressing my sexual needs. Please, get a clue, or just shut up and look like you have one.

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