Paul Anthony Smith
In "Tradewinds," Paul Anthony Smith’s second solo show at Jack Shainman Gallery, the Jamaican-American artist presents new prints that delve into his Caribbean heritage and generational legacies.
Created with Smith’s signature method of picotage—he uses a ceramic tool to pick away the surface of his photographs—the prints become iridescent, their images altered through patterns of highlight and shadow. Under his treatment, the newly textured surfaces render their subjects as exalted figures, becoming symbolically and literally larger than themselves. Untitled (2020-21) [pictured] shows a group of women clustered around a table, exchanging meaningful glances. Smith disrupts the flatness of the photograph with pointillist dots, making the women almost phosphorescent.
At the heart of Smith’s deeply personal work is the question of stories that are told about people’s lives and deaths. Perhaps one answer can be found in Smith’s images themselves—photographs which figure as personal memories, physically transformed.
Paul Anthony Smith, Untitled, 2020. Unique picotage and acrylic paint on inkjet print, mounted on museum board and sintra, 68 x 96 inches.