Kathi J Smith
Greenhut Galleries presents a two person exhibition: Kathi Smith and Matt Blackwell

Kathi Smith

Kathi Smith’s lush, expressionistic paintings are known for their loose, confident brush strokes, and their complex and sophisticated interplay of textures, gestural marks, and rich, abundant color. As art writer Marcia Santore notes: “Her surfaces are worked and reworked, brushed, rubbed, dabbed, scuffed and pressed, built up in layers, scraped down again, scratched through, into a surface defined by texture and traveling marks, touched by brilliant color.” Thematically, location holds a place of primacy. Smith is most inspired by scenes in which she finds herself lost in the act of looking: “Complicated spaces with an abundance of information intrigue me, and I consider it my task as an artist to find order within them.” Though her work is representational, she is always, in her words, “flirting with abstraction. . .There’s a balance between the literal and the conceptual. For me, painting is about seeing, experiencing, and articulating the world (things, spaces, places) around me. . .using observation, perspective, point of view and perception to translate the world I find myself in.”

Kathi is currently interested in “the role of the landscape in developing any one person’s sense of self, and, when conjured through sensations, such as color, light and touch, how powerful the visual memory of a place can be.” Introducing an implied “self” with a sense of identity in relation to a particular landscape necessarily inscribes it with a narrative quality. As Kathi says, “I look for narratives within the landscape. I find them in backyards, abandoned spaces and in those spaces in between that are often overlooked.”

Most of Smith’s paintings are started on location from direct observation, but are then brought to her studio, where she continues working on them. “Through this process, the paintings become a blend of both real and remembered worlds, more evocative of the subject matter than descriptive.” Kathi’s recent paintings are visually compelling landscapes relevant to her personal history, emotionally inscribed with sense memories of her family's homestead in Nova Scotia, her hometown in western Maine, and Maine’s Great Cranberry Island. As such, their narrative holds an intimate, first person point of view: “I find familiarities in these places, where a particular light, color, or texture in the landscape will evoke a memory, then becoming my subject.”

Kathi Smith holds a BFA in Painting & Drawing from the University of Southern Maine (2003), and a MFA in Painting from the University of New Hampshire (2008). She has participated in many regional and national exhibitions, and numerous prestigious residencies. She received a full fellowship supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation to the Vermont Studio Center and has been a Fellow and Artist-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut, and the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation in Maine. She currently teaches studio arts at Husson University in Bangor.


Works available via Greenhut Galleries
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Statement
My work is reflective of places in which I find myself lost in the act of looking. Complicated spaces with an abundance of information intrigue me and I consider it my task as an artist to find order within them. I am currently interested in the role of landscapes in developing a sense of one’s self and, when conjured through sensations, how powerful the visual memory of a place can be.

Recently, I have been painting places relevant to my personal history; memories of my family's homestead in Nova Scotia, my hometown in Western Maine, and the White Mountains where I currently reside. Concurrently, I have been creating bodies of work on location at artist residencies, in Maine, Connecticut, Virginia, and Vermont. These intense month long periods of working have resulted in further explorations of my sense of place, and the landscapes I have found myself within. All of the works are records of locations that I have spent a significant amount of time. Some are made from direct observation, while others from memory, all provide my sense of any given space.


Kathi Smith -2014

Bio

Born in Maine, Kathi Smith is a New England artist and educator. Smith’s work reflects her landscape, in which she invites close observation of familiar-seeming places and their narratives. Smith’s reputation and career are rapidly growing. In the past three years, she has participated in many regional and national exhibitions, and four prestigious residencies. She received a full fellowship supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation to the Vermont Studio Center and has been a Fellow and Artist-in-Residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Weir Farm National Historic Site in Connecticut, and the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation in Maine. In July 2013 Artscope Magazine featured her in Kathi Smith’s New England. She maintains her studio practice in Ashland, New Hampshire and teaches at Plymouth State University. She holds a BFA in Painting & Drawing from the University of Southern Maine, and a MFA in Painting from the University of New Hampshire.