Joshua Robert Alan Smith and Spacetaker

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Joshua Robert Alan Smith, an image collector and collagist, incorporates images of venerated objects, human memorials, and cultural artifacts in his new work showing at Spacetaker, opening this Saturday. In effect, he is continuing and complicating the interpretive activities already inherent to his subjects, puzzling out history and memory by focusing on the strategies used to define and control them: statues and monuments, architecture and artifact.

At the same time, Smith is interested in historical moments themselves, "moments that have really shifted our lives or defined us, on a personal or broad level." This dual focus, on memory and memorial, provides a clue to his creative process, which begins by avidly collecting images from a wide range of sources: "journalistic photographs, images from art history, found photographs, architectural elements."

With the raw source material, Smith contrives dramatic narratives, a sort of storytelling in which is subjects are actors in their roles, emphasizing the interpretive distance between the creative work and the allegedly original facts of history. Along the same lines, his appropriation and repurposing of found imagery puts some distance between his works at the images' original intentions. Despite all this interpretation and reinterpretation, Smith desires to bring about a direct convergence of past, present, and future in his work.

Smith returned to his native Houston after a few post-college years in Austin and Dallas. This is his first solo show here.

When Art Attack asked Smith his favorite art show since he's been back, he names Barkley L. Hendrick's show "Birth of the Cool" at the CAMH. Barkley's paintings also challenged and updated our iconography and history, albeit through portraiture, personality, and style. "Those paintings were absolutely beautiful from start to finish."

The opening reception for Joshua Robert Alan Smith's show is Saturday, April 16, 5 - 7 p.m. at the Spacetaker Artist Resource Center (ARC) Gallery, 2101 Winter Street, B11.The free show runs through May 14, Wednesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call 713-868-1839 or visit http://www.spacetaker.org.

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