Jayne Anita Smith Artist work statement

Smith is an abstract figurative artist whose paintings are born from automatic drawings produced in graphite and pigment powder. 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 figurative forms start to emerge and claim their presence.

 Evolving organically, the paintings have an elemental fluidity, appearing in a constant state of transmutation.  As the fragments and shapes shift, so does the conversation between former and future self, further questioning the concept of one's own being.  There is a strong inference of the natural world within the figures, confronting our growing sense of alienation from it and challenging the observer to draw parallels with our internal human state.  Smith invites the observer to examine, and attempt to connect with, the deepest parts of our humanity.  And as the painting unravels, we begin to get a sense of an instinctive space where the 'other' might be found.  Indeed, these heady, overtly hallucinatory configurations play in the spaces between the conscious and unconscious, where emotion and memory are rooted in the instinctive and primal.

 Working on paper or wood supports, bright fluorescent acrylic grounds, which are at once both suggestive of the spiritual but can also be read as toxic, underpin her paintings. Smith then works wet in wet on top, building up the mass and finding form. The paintings are further defined once these initial marks are dry, by applying additional layers and glazes. The resulting paintings sitting somewhere between abstract and figurative. 

The paintings in this latest series of works explore Feminine myth and spirituality,  using them as a way for her to reimagine a sense of place, reinventing a new personal and collective narrative. Looking at a more holistic approach to the  environment under the shadow of climate change and empowering the feminine to challenge a patriarchal society.

Smith's work is fed by memories and experiences from her youth. As a child, Smith spent time swimming in the local pool, playing over the fields and woods, climbing trees and building camps, making perfume from rose petals, picking fruit and berries. Religion was a big influence in her life, she attended Church and  at one stage she was part of the 'Children of God' church group.

Smith's paintings have much in common with other eco-feminism artists, such as Wangechi Mutu, Kiki Smith, Sara Anstis and Jessie Makinson, whose work re -imagines what women can be, recreating visionary worlds where subjects display attributes associated with the wild and are connected to nature and  the earth. 

Smith's work is also inspired by female surrealist artists like, Leonor Fini, Ithell Colquhoun and Dorothea Tanning, ancient mythological goddesses  and religion, the natural environment and botanical forms and Rococo and baroque church architecture and design.

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.

Using Format