Paul Anthony Smith b. 1988

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biography

Paul Anthony Smith was born in Jamaica and currently lives and works in New York. The artist creates paintings and unique picotage, a stippling method used commonly in textile printing where brass pins driven into wooden blocks are used to create highlight and shadow patterns on fabric. The artist utilizes this method on pigment prints that explore the artist's autobiography, as well as issues of identity within the African diaspora. Referencing both W.E.B. Du Bois' concept of double consciousness and Franz Fanon's theory of cultural confusions caused by colonialism, Smith alludes to diasporic rituals of adorning the body. Memory, migration, and home are central to Smith's work, which probes questions of hybrid identities between worlds old and new. Smith's layered picotage is often patterned in the style of Caribbean breeze block fences and modernist architectural elements that function as veils, meant both to obscure and to protect Smith's subjects from external gaze. Picotage serves as an access point as Smith interrogates which elements of identity are allowed to pass through the complexities of borders and migration.

 

Selected solo exhibitions include Tradewinds at Jack Shainman Gallery, New York (2021); Joslyn Art Museum, Omaha (2019); The Green Gallery, Milwaukee (2018); and Walls Without Borders at Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta (2017). Smith's work has been included in exhibitions at Perrotin, New York (2022); Gana Art Gallery, Seoul (2021); Somerset House, London (2019); and New Museum, New York (2017). Smith's work is also included in an exhibition organized by the Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C., Men of Change (2019 - 2023), which has traveled to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture, Baltimore (2022); Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit (2022); African American Museum, Dallas (2021); Anacostia Community Museum, Washington D.C. (2021); California African American Museum, Los Angeles (2021); Washington State History Museum, Tacoma (2019-2020); and National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Cincinnati (2019). His work is in public collections, including 21c Museum, Louisville; Blanton Museum of Art, University of Texas at Austin; Belger Arts Center, Kansas City; Minneapolis Institute of Art; and Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University, Durham, North Carolina.

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