This new series of paintings have been developed by Jayne Anita Smith over the last few years. It reflects her religious associations and experiences in her teens and was prompted by the death of a close family patriarch. Her work uses the female figure as an agent to consider women's sacred relationship with nature and the negative impact that a patriarchal society is having on both.
Smith is a figurative artist whose paintings are born from automatic drawings produced on an intimate scale in oil paint. Smith uses these first, primitive marks, as a pathway to connect to the subconscious, to her internal voices. From these first raw brushstrokes, the tentative forms of a female figure start to emerge and claim their presence. This provides the foundations of her imagery and is at the heart of her paintings.
Building on these initial drawings, Smith then applies multiple collage layers using sections of previous works, to disrupt and hide part of the original figure, sometimes adding in body imagery sourced from fashion magazines. Smith's processes are informed by an investigation into the conflict between the spiritual and physical, in a society where the contemporary focus is very much on materiality and where the eternal pursuit of the sublime is often lost.
These collage studies are the basis of Smith's large scale paintings. What was once organic, now metamorphosises into something fragmented and fractured. The figures become masses, congested by the subsequent constructed layers, the core (the spirit) is fractured and partially concealed.
An intense colour palette builds on these foundations creating a heightened drama and a synthetic reality which reflects the underlying chaos and misalignment of post-modern existence.
Smith draws some of her influences from Renaissance religious art, as a symbol for the spiritual, they are also refer to the patriarchal power of the church. Their historical rules and restrictions on women echoing and reinforcing those of a society built and governed by Man to suppress and control the spirit.