Saturday, March 02, 2013

JOHN HOLT SMITH at William Campbell Contemporary Art

Hubble Oculus #1, 2011
Acrylic Enamel on aluminum
48 x 48 in repost.

Fort Worth is known for its great art museums. The Fort Worth Modern, the Kimbell, and the Amon Carter make for a full day of art emersion; however, if you’re like me, the museums leave you hungry for more. William Campbell Contemporary Art often feeds that need to see up and coming/established artists. I find sometimes William Campbell’s exhibitions out shine the shows at the museums. The gallery’s current show of John Holt Smith has long been anticipated, at least by me.

I have seen John Holt Smith in several group shows, but this is the first solo show I have seen with his large circle pieces along with his ‘Infinite Blooms’ series. For those not familiar with his work, Holt Smith uses photographs and then he digitally stretches the image to create the lines, which he then paints this sequence of lines on aluminum panels. With this process, he also creates unique prints face-mounted on acrylic.

Holt Smith is getting at the essence or as he says, ‘the signature’ of the photograph, through abstraction. The source photograph still retains the color information reflected like groves of a record in the round works. In the ‘Infinite Blooms’ show the information appears more like I imagine FM radio waves might appear visually. With the series of work titled ‘Infinite Blooms,’ I can assume Holt Smith is referencing more floral illusions, however, his process implies a more digital/machine made aesthetic. Like the urban plans of Pierre Charles L'Enfant, Holt Smith strips out all the organic and irregular details of the landscapes and leaves a purely mathematical, logically organized world.

His aluminum panel paintings appear to float off the walls. Every part of Holt Smith’s art seems completely machine made. The lines and colors are perfect. I’m reminded of Ian Davenport’s line paintings that begin to bleed and shift, but Holt Smith leaves nothing to chance. Each line curves in what appears to be a purely deterministic algorithm.

John Holt Smith’s earlier line paintings mirrored a whole host of other artists doing similar work, but he has managed to take his concept of digital manipulation and keep the essential element of abstract, while breaking away from the pack of other artists. He is now stretching and shaping his information into flows of colorful lines that curve to capture your attention. William Campbell Contemporary Art will display John Holt Smith’s work until January 5th. for more images.

No comments: