In Gillian Smith’s paintings, intense colors, a constant sense of motion, and a sensitivity to light and texture are combined in works that make an immediate connection with the viewer. Painting in acrylics on canvas, the artist effectively employs the bright tones that acrylics provide, while also working through the subtle variations in each color to create a sense of depth and space that brings each scene vividly to life. “Painting is like breathing for me,” she says, and there is a natural flow to her images that gives them a mood that is dynamic, yet peaceful.
The powerful physicality of Smith’s pictures is only part of the story that they tell. By capturing her subjects in realistic detail, she also incorporates them into bold graphic patterns. Sometimes placing her figures against a backdrop of swirls or flowing lines, and at other times making those patterns an integral part of the figures themselves, Smith achieves a distinctive balance between realism and abstraction. The resulting images have a multi-layered quality that is both intriguingly complex and thoroughly accessible.