Greg Parma Smith
Interior Landscapes from Love's Dimension
Greg Parma Smith unveils a new series of drawings in "Interior Landscapes from Love's Dimension." The show expands on themes introduced in "Love's Dimension," which took place in fall 2019 at David Lewis Gallery. In contrast, Smith conceived of and completed "Interior Landscapes..." while quarantined at home with his family during the COVID-19 crisis.
Curator and art historian Liam Considine—also the director of Le Maximum, which is presenting the exhibition in collaboration with David Lewis Gallery—interviewed Smith for the occasion of the show's debut. Below is an excerpt from their conversation:
[Liam Considine]: It's tempting to draw a connection between your situation at home and your images of flora and fauna trapped in shallow spaces of cell- and grid-like structures. There's a sense of confinement and also vitality. But really these works expand on the direction you have been moving in the past few years. Aside from your longstanding engagement with materials and techniques, there has been a shift from the human body and subcultural imagery to natural forms as well as allegorical and non-western modes of representation. At the same time, a new level of emotion has entered your work and interacted with your formal experimentation in fascinating ways. I see it in the title of your last show which is also given to these works: "Love's Dimension." Is love a feeling, a shape, a place we can step into? Your games with trompe-l'oeil and pseudodimensional space only deepen this paradox. I guess I'm wondering how you think about the relationship between form and content in these works.
[Greg Parma Smith]: It does make sense to speak in terms of allegory. My original idea with this "Love’s Dimension" work came from thinking about relief and the figure/ground dichotomy on a picture plane. What kind of fragmented, unhappy world is proposed when we differentiate between figure and ground? Between individual and environment? On the picture plane, both are rendered in stony pigments. What if the void “ground” in which the animate “figure” is floating were to be depicted as a thicker, more present substance, inter-existing with the contours of the figure? Neither one in front nor behind. Such that figure and ground are embedded in each other. These are primordial visions for me. All known life in our universe is contained in a paper-thin layer on top of the Earth’s surface, like a thin smear of pigment. I’ve been thinking about the Buddhist concepts of interdependence, impermanence, no-self—that suffering and delusion come from clinging to fixed identities, separate static things, when in fact it’s quite obvious that nothing in the world has that kind of eternal self-ness.
One dimension, two dimensions, three dimensions—a picture plane is another world that is also our world that is claustrophobic and also infinite.
Greg Parma Smith, Growth Flower in Firestorm, 2020. Watercolor and flashe, 10x10 inches.