I find it interesting that I am so often drawn to the work of California artists. Is it because of the light? The vegetation? Perhaps it is the magic of Hollywood, fields of vines, giant, majestic redwoods, or being one of the epicenters of political and social change. I suppose the real reason is the quality of the work.
Ali Smith and David Hicks both live in California. Educated at California State University Long Beach, David was and undergraduate while Ali was pursuing her Master of Fine Arts degree in painting. Like ships passing in the night, neither would know until much later that they would find themselves exhibiting together on the other side of the country. Ali Smith writes about her current body of work:
“My new paintings are a culmination of several years of working in a slow, deliberate manner, often creating vast layers of paint that build up over time. Evoking multi-layered maps, wastelands or invented landscapes, I use intuitive doodles, ornamentation and dramatic scale shifts to lure the viewer in. Each painting holds together as a complex unit, simultaneously built, constructed, woven or erased, to create a complex, abstract language.”
Using vivid color and a hybrid language of painting, I often merge drawing and painting; a more sculptural slab of paint might reside in the same space as a quickly drawn line. Within my work, I am attempting to sort through the visual and cultural clutter I encounter on a daily basis, and make something meaningful from it. I tend to work in groups of paintings rather than series, where each painting might have a very different identity from the next, almost like a single song on an album, and each individual painting has its own set of rules.