Anthony Smith Jr
Mediums: Visual Arts, Mixed Media
Anthony Smith received a B.A. in Fine Arts from Amherst College (1999) and an M.F.A. in Painting from the University of Michigan (2001). Smith also studied wood-block printmaking in Kyoto, Japan at Kyoto Seika University in 2001.
He has recently showed in the “Tribute to Michelangelo” show at CrisolArts Gallery in Barcelona, Spain. Notable exhibitions include work in the 2014 “Artist Chain Reaction Competition” at the Andrew Freedman Home in the Bronx, the 2013 Fuse Arts Infrastructure Cigar Factory and Schoen’s Building shows in Allentown PA, and the 2010 “Sailing the Barbarous Coast” show (which traveled to the New Art Center in Newton, MA, University Galleries, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA and the Walker Point Art Center, Milwaukee, WI). Also notable was the 2008 “Runaway” show at the University of Texas Pan-American Gallery in McAllen TX for which he received a Puffin Foundation grant. He has been reviewed in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Boston Globe, The Detroit Free Press, The Ann Arbor News and the Artist’s Magazine.
Anthony has taught at such institutions as the University of Michigan, Parsons, Princeton and Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) in Baltimore, Maryland. Smith served as an artist –in-residence at the National Academy of Design from 2006 to 2008. Most recently he has taught at Lehigh University in Bethlehem Pa (2012), and as a visiting artist at Muhlenberg College in Allentown Pa (2014/2015). He lives In the Bronx and Allentown Pennsylvania with a studio at the Banana Factory Art Center in Bethlehem, PA.
I use abstract painting to explore complex and indefinite moral positions and to tell inscrutable stories.
I begin with simple sketches that over time become stylized, coalescing into calligraphic forms contributing to an intricate yet dense topography of layered line work, paint, and collage. Most of my works comprise larger series, which illustrate a theme or communicate visual narratives using a consistent set of patterns, colors and other ephemera that are always placed in a specific order. My sequential process is not unlike comic book art, where individual works can be both edited and hermetic while parts of a larger story. Although private narratives are essential to my creative process, I use them only to the end of producing works that move the viewer to impose his or her own personal experience into them, making for a reception that is as varied and complex as the viewers themselves.
I aim in my work to create an orderly-but-exotic universe that invites play by the viewer by simultaneously including familiar and appropriated imagery and then eluding precise or didactic storytelling. My pieces often begin with a set of compositional rules that change over the life of a series as I respond to the materials, initial, guiding narrative, and the development of my mark making. My goal in changing elements in a series is to toy with, or even to thwart, the viewer’s expectations in order to spark inquiry into the role that memory plays as ballast for visual understanding.