ARTIST’S STATEMENT Michael Smithhammer
My intention is to provide viewers with an exhilarating, disorientating, sense of wonder, very similar to what one experiences while in a foreign country. Allowing oneself to be suspended, or “disconnected” for a time expands perspectives. It is a physiological phenomenon that causes us to become increasingly aware of the link between mind and world.
Over the years in a variety of locations I have managed to maintain a steady flow of work in the mediums of pen, pencil, a variety of paint types, wood, ceramics. as well as photographic collage.
The materials themselves are a stimulus. I work in an improvisational manor, responding to how and what the material presents. When I first started, painting and drawing were the most readily available mediums in which to work. As the facilities for working three dimensionally became available I started producing objects in wood, clay, metal, fibers and plastics. Each material provides a particular challenge and resistance that stimulates and feeds the process and my desire to fabricate.
What I fabricate are objects and images that are the embodiment of what I know lies beyond abstraction. The work synthesizes elements from the worlds of biology, astrology, and anatomy. There is energy in things such as plants, animals, human anatomy and, of course, in space. There is also engineering or design which dazzles and amazes with its infinite permutations.
What I observe people experiencing with my work is a mysterious joy of discovery where the vistas and the subjects continually change and thus stay alive. They are attracted by simple attributes such as color, texture, pattern, or form. With time, it is as if they acquire this new language, become familiar with this world and want to continue the relationship indefinitely.