Monday, June 27, 2011

Jeffrey Smart

Clive James describes Smart as "born in Adelaide in 1921, is the modern Australian painter whose paintings look least Australian". He is a beautiful artist with a perspective that marries industrial settings with soft, almost  ethereal, lighting and figures. I realise that he has lived in Italy (Abruzzo) for most of his life but his 'abstract'  style is strangely familiar. Possibly it's his sense of space and placement of people in his works. Some of his settings could pass for the docklands in Botany or any industrial warehousing near our major cities. 

It may be that since the architecture of the modern world has become so homogenised that the empathy you feel for the pictures comes from a recognition of sorts. Nevertheless he is one of the contemporary 'Australian' artists I would love to meet. Having achieved that goal I guess my next issue would be preparing some vaguely intellectual questions to ask him. I know that artists are meant to suffer for their craft but I'd gladly endure extensive pain to have any of his works above my fireplace. 

Image: Final Study of the Rome Metro by Jeffrey Smart.

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