Elisabeth Smith

Artist keeps it light

If you believe that ancient peoples communicated with extraterrestrials and even explored interstellar space, Elisabeth Smith’s visually engaging paintings may resemble antediluvian star maps. Smith’s highly contrasting color palette (yellows and oranges paired with blues and greens) tints a kind of primitive snapshot of the cosmos just moments after the Big Bang. At a glance, the works in “Elisabeth Smith: Solo Exhibit” could be mistaken for decorative art: abstract, mass-produced pieces meant to match a paint shade or the sofa upholstery. But stare at these pieces long enough, and symbols begin to emerge; narratives develop deep inside the ambiguous, cloudy forms — wait a second, why are we hearing the Strokes all of a sudden? Maybe it’s because Smith’s Green Collision is almost identical to the North American cover of the Strokes’ Is This It? album. Like, creepily similar — all the way down to the intersecting greenish-blue lines and curlicues against the orangy-gold background. Interestingly, that album graphic is titled Big Bang. Hold on, we’re getting somewhere: Smith named one of her paintings Interpole. Gotcha! Her major inspirations are sci-fi and New York rock and roll.

 
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