Kevin Smith is a father, painter and creative theorist. He co-founded the Free Artist Alliance (2006-2010) in Fort Smith Arkansas, where he exhibited locally through Art Amiss, EyeCandy Gallery, and Brunwick Gallery and graduated from the University of Arkansas with a BA in Studio Art. In 2010, Smith relocated to Pacific Northwest, mounting a 2010 solo show of new paintings in Seattle and becoming a member of Pacific Northwest College of Art’s inaugural Critical Theory + Creative Research class the following year. The artist presented a thesis on the materiality of paint and its relation to vision, the body, and technology in earning an MA (2014). Californian by birth, Southern by upbringing, and Pacific Northwestern by choice, Smith, 31, today works for Gamblin Artists Colors and makes paintings in Portland, OR.
My creative practice is a liberation methodology where ideas are churned into projects and paintings. It is “a scene of maceration— a mixing of scraps of percept, feeling and concept, subjectivity, affect, and object.” My paintings— typically wood panels wider than my shoulders, narrower than my wingspan, and smeared with oil and pigment— are Temporary Autonomous Zones of Imagination. They are spaces for envisioning erased histories, hoping for better futures, and for inspiring this same imagination in others.
Color, a multivalent and pre-linguistic physiological phenomenon, is an insurrection that devastates rational discourse and defies Western epistemologies. It is ceaselessly changing, creating what Carlos Cruz-Diez termed “autonomous realities.” Color is a bodily immersion within matter. It is non-dimensional and absorbing. Beauty, like color, is a bodily experience. It alerts us to the alivenesss of the world and beckons us to protect it. It demands perceptual acuity of, and lateral regard for, the world. Beauty is a call towards justice.
The experiences of color and beauty rupture, however briefly, the hegemony of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy. These ruptures are but one way I seek to reckon the histories of plunder and colonization in my DNA.