"The contradictions between the way we look and the way we feel are central to my practice. I pour and disrupt paint over and over again, seeking a precarious balance between control and chance."
"My paintings of strange creature-like forms start with gloss paint poured into pools with no preconceived outcome. I am mesmerised by the way the paint floods, oozes, coils and dances as it falls. Bold strong colours bleed, repel and collide to create unpredictable and unexpected reactions. The pressure of gravity combined with the tilting of canvases begins the formation of shapes and contours. I build layer after layer creating surface tension, which varies from mirror-like smoothness to highly textured wrinkles and furrows."
"The creatures that emerge feel no need to shield their emotions or mask their anxiety and unease. They are feisty challenging and wilful; their attitude is key. Free from inhibitions they embrace their faults and imperfections."
Angela Smith graduated from the University of Brighton in 2008, with a degree in Fine Art Painting. She won the Cass Art Award at the National Open Art Exhibition, which led to her solo show Precarious in Islington in late 2018. Previous solo shows include Surface Tension at Lacey Contemporary Gallery London in 2016 and The Unsaid at New Greenham Arts Newbury which was awarded as a prize shortly after she graduated. Her work has been selected for many group shows including The London Group Open (2017, 2015, 2013), The Royal Academy (2022, 2012) and The Discerning Eye (2017, 2016, 2010, 2009) where she was awarded the Parker Harris prize.
'Witness', gloss on wood, h. 30 x w. 30 cm
Do you plan each piece in advance or do they develop intuitively?
"I enjoy not having a plan, instead I pour paint and see what happens. Gradually I build up layer upon layer over time and slowly begin to see interesting shapes, details and forms start to emerge. These are worked into and sometimes make it to the final painting but are often obliterated when they become too precious! I carry on pouring and manipulating the paint until I see an interesting creature looking back at me or indeed one that refuses to meet my gaze. I hang them in my studio and see if they have a strong enough presence. If they do it’s finished, however if it blends into the background, it’s time for more paint…"
How important is the material itself to your work?
"Very important. I use gloss paint which is fluid and maintains good colour strength. It is hard to control, which allows for lots of unpredictability and unexpected results. This uncertainty keeps me on my toes, and means the process itself is both challenging and rewarding. After many years, I am still mesmerised by the way the paint floods, oozes, dances and coils as it falls and the feeling of being lost in the work is a joyful one. The skin of gloss paint can dry at a different rate to the paint beneath allowing me to play with surface tension, which varies from a mirror like smoothness to highly textured wrinkles and furrows. I like to experiment with other mediums and have recently started to pair gloss with paints from the Golden range which have a rich viscosity and a strong colour intensity."
Can you tell us more about the work featured in our Winter Exhibition?
"I’m showing three of my latest paintings: Witness, Eyeopener and Heavyweight. These are all creature paintings that also include a 3D element formed by paint contained within its own skin."
"Witness is a creature that is quietly watching and silently processing what unfolds. An onlooker unaware and unconcerned about being observed in return."
"Eyeopener is trying its best to stay perfectly still whilst scrutinizing its surroundings. A mischievous creature whose eyes and ears are wide open to surprising sights and juicy snippets."
"Heavyweight has a lot on its mind and is lost deep in thought. A weathered hefty creature who although is mature in age and rich in experience remains unsure."