RACHAEL ROTH JUNE 8, 2012
RACHAEL ROTH JUNE 8, 2012
Smith explains his anamorphic art
Smith, an Easthampton native and returning resident was particularly struck those years back by a 3-leaf clover and a chrysanthemum mirrored in a cone made out of silver and glass. It was not until recently that he rifled through old notebooks and revisited the art of anamorphoses.
“Anamorphoses” are images, realized by the viewer only at one exact angle, but otherwise distorted or nonexistent. Smith’s exhibit features paintings that head-on, look like misshapen lines, but from an angle form an image so precise it looks like a photograph.
“This is sort of a dormant medium but you can find vestiges of it everywhere,” said Smith, using the example of a the symbol for a bicycle in a bike lane that appears to be an appropriate scale from a distance, but is stretched and distorted once you are above it peering down.
The other element of the “Anamorphic Objects,” exhibit, are conic anamorphoses. To achieve these pieces, Smith designs cones out of billet aluminum that are then produced by G&H manufacturing. Along the perimeter of the cone he paints an image that can only be seen by staring directly into the tip of the aluminum cone. Smith used trial and error, asking questions and gathering information from friends to successfully create the optical illusions.
“I did revisit the chrysanthemum and the 3-leaf clover, and I went to see what mine looked like and what theirs looked like,” said Smith of the 17th century pieces. “Theirs sucked, mine rule.”
Even with a basic explanation of how these visual effects are achieved, Smith’s work manages to be mysterious. The pieces, specifically his conic anamorphoses, exist in two ways. One, a mesmerizing silver cone amidst a swirl of pretty colors- the other, an air-brushed and intangible image.
The images used in the conic anamorphoses and wall paintings are a mix of original and iconic. One of the wall paintings is of a deer skull that was dragged out of the woods in Santa Rosa, California by Smith’s dog, Burton. The more recognized images, such as a Superman logo, are original in this case in that they only exist at one angle or as a reflection.
“I thought about that all the time. The Henry Hausen Cyclops doesn’t exist in anything but sitting here and looking at it over there,” he said.
Last week’s gallery opening allowed people to enjoy the novelty of the pieces, or as Smith calls them, “objects of desire.” Beyond the novelty though, Smith plans to use something from this exhibit in another aspect of narrative painting.
“It’ll tell a story,” he said.
Staff photos by Rachael Roth
Sometimes you need pulleys to get the art on the wall. We've got a new show going in at ECA Gallery at Old Town Hall, featuring new works by Jill Lewis and Fletcher Smith. Holy Land opens Saturday February 11, 5-8pm as part of #ArtWalk. We look forward to seeing you there! #pulley #art #installation #community #easthamptonma #itsineasthampton #motivationmonday #art4all @fletcher13smith @jilian52
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Art in the Orchard 2015
240" × 36"
Manipulated Celtex panels and structure
Jacob left Beersheba and set out for Harran.
When he reached a certain place, he stopped for the night because the sun had set.
Taking one of the stones there, he put it under his head and lay down to sleep.
He had a dream in which he saw a stairway resting on the earth, with its top reaching to heaven,
and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it.
(La mariée mise à nu par ses célibataires, même)
Some visions are best seen with eyes wide shut.
Art In the Orchard, open all day from August 15 - October 31, 2015,
is a walking sculpture trail which winds through our fruit gardens.
This third bienniel exhibition features the work of 28 selected sculptors.
The self-guided trail is about a half-mile long.
A walk through the labyrinth adds about a quarter mile.
GIRLS, GURLS, GRRLS AND OTHER OBJECTS OF DESIRE
Artist Fletcher Smith will exhibit his series of 3-d paintings and anamorphic illusions in “Girls, Gurls, Grrls, and Other Objects of Desire” at the ECA+ Gallery from February 4 through February 25. The opening reception will take place on February 8, 5-8 p.m. during the 6th annual Fire & Ice Art Walk in Easthampton. The exhibit is free and open to the public. 3-D glasses will be provided.
As a keen adherent of pop iconography and optical sleights, Smith repurposes personal photographs and found images from the internet—a dating profile photo of woman kissing a freshly caught fish or a vacation pose near the Egyptian pyramids—to infiltrate both the world ordinary intimacy and commercial exuberance. In his own words, Smith is "advancing Western Civilization, one painting at a time."
Smith requires his viewers to don 3-D glasses or physically shift perspective to a precise location as a means to see a concealed and sometimes strikingly familiar image. Though influenced by Chuck Close, Ed Ruscha, and John Baldessari, Smith employs the centuries-old practices of perspectival and conical anamorphsis to create his bold, mutative works. In his perspectival anamorphic paintings, abstracted black and white lines cohere into clear, photographic forms such as a pair of hands casting an elephant-like shadow on the wall when viewed from the side. Other works rely on positioning a reflective billet aluminum cone in the center of a painted disc to achieve the illusion. Viewers looking directly at the tip of a cone might see a child holding an orange balloon or the command to Buy Now and Save emerge from a ring of cheerful amoebic shapes.
Born in 1954 in Easthampton, MA, Smith is among the leading artists of his generation that have experimented with and incorporated anamorphic forms and devices into his narrative painting. After studying art at the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston and the Pratt Institute in New York, Smith acted as a gallerist and curator for a number of eminent institutions including the R.K. Parker Gallery, Gallerie Michael and Mayer-Schwarz Gallery. Smith’s work can be found in myriad of public and private art collections both in the United States and abroad, and has been seen in numerous exhibitions worldwide. He currently lives and works in Western Massachusetts.