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.

Rooted in observation, and influenced by expressionism, my paintings are abstractions of the landscape. They are compilations of real and remembered places that I visit ritually, and are made to honor the sense of each of those places on particular days. I’m interested in making paintings that are tangible, physical, and all-embracing. To me, these places are rough, unforgiving, curious, familiar, and beautiful. I believe my paintings carry these same qualities, and this is why I paint Maine in the approach that I do, with immediacy and urgency. The textured surfaces, energetic marks, thin and thick layers, and color notes I choose to use, are intended to convey a full sensory experience. This is evocative of the moments that I embrace when I’m working within the landscape.

~Kathi Smith 2019
Bio

Kathi Smith- Bio 2018

Born in Western Maine, Kathi Smith is an artist whose work is reflective of the landscape she finds herself within. Smith invites us to join her in close observation of familiar-seeming places, places that hold personal and universal narratives. Recent subjects include Great Cranberry Island, her family’s homestead in Nova Scotia, and her hometown of Wilton Maine. Smith works both in the landscape and in the studio to create real and remembered worlds.

Smith’s reputation and career have rapidly expanded as she has participated in numerous regional and national exhibitions and 5 significant artist residencies which include a Full Fellowship supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation to the Vermont Studio Center. Other fellowships include VCCA, the Heliker-LaHotan Foundation, Weir Farm National Historic Site, The Alfred and Trafford Klotts International program for artists in Brittany France through the Maryland Institute College of Art. Smith was noted as “one to watch” by Dan Kany in his piece Art Review: Energetic pair of painters show in Portland, May 2018 and has been included in the Art Maine 2018, as a notable Maine artist. Previous press include Artscope Magazine, Kathi Smith’s New England, July 2013 as well as Maine Home + Design Expressive Impression, May 2016.

Formal education includes BFA in Painting & Drawing from the University of Southern Maine, and a MFA in Painting from the University of New Hampshire. Smith is an Assistant Professor of Studio Arts and Art Appreciation at Husson University in Bangor. Smith is an active participant in the Maine contemporary art scene and keeps her studio in Bangor, ME.