Laurie Smithwick | Painter & Printmaker
According to the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, I am a P and a J (most people are a P or a J), which amounts to a constant internal struggle between flexibility and structure. This can be difficult day to day, but turns out to be great for art.
I spent a lifetime as a graphic designer, disciplined by rules: grids, letterforms, hierarchies, and construction. But after 20 years, I needed a shift, and that’s when I transitioned to abstract painting and printmaking. Abstract art has taught me to embrace unpredictability and abandon perfectionism. Now I explore the tension between order and disorder; rules and intuition. I am obsessed with the equilibrium created by opposing forces.
I have been working on my current series, “Balance,” throughout the pandemic — a period of time that has many of us feeling decidedly unbalanced, thanks to rising COVID case counts, Black lives being taken by police and violence arising from the protests, our entire west coast being consumed by fire, and an election unprecedented in its stakes. My work introduces structures that would never be able to balance in the real world, but in the context of a painting, are able to perform the impossible. As 2020 transitioned into 2021, I found my passive balanced monoliths have begun shifting into portals — no doubt reflecting a
desire for a new beginning. While the same basic conceit (balance) is at the core, the energy is found in the converging lines and marks. Mark making feels like a vocabulary to me — an alphabet, not necessarily of words, but of emotion and feeling. The marks evoke and elicit.