Samantha Keely Smith paints fictional landscapes and portraits.
The landscape paintings examine the underlying psychological impact of our escalating climate crisis. They look at how the unconscious mind unpacks this overwhelming reality that is hard to face up to in waking life. Imaginary places comprised at the boundary of the things inside us and the changing world around us. The work is painted and partially destroyed many times, using solvents and scraping to break up the painted surface, suggesting the decay of chemical pollution and the alterations/mutations that result.
The portraits explore how memories evolve over time, are reconstructed with each remembrance, and are further distorted through the lens of our inner lives, ultimately coalescing into a fictional version of a person or event. The distressed facades of the portraits rattle an uneasy truth about the unfixed nature of identity and personality. Is it a biological construct, or are you really you? Is this being forming, coming into existence, or disintegrating before your eyes? The subjects of the portraits are sometimes loosely based on people known to the artist, but most often they are, like the landscapes, completely fictional - constructed and pieced together from various sources.
Aerial is a series of meditative abstract works. The paintings suggest elements of the natural world that are in constant flux and provide a centering rhythm.
Brooklyn-based artist Samantha Keely Smith was born in Harlow, England. After moving to the US as a child, Smith went on to study art and art history at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and received a BFA at Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University (painting, 1991).