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Doug Smithenry




Smithenry's art connects the traditional act of painting with the current pastime of web surfing. He searches for characters and backgrounds with their visual dissection and final presentation in mind. Printing the pictures and crumpling them up, he then takes a rolling pin and flattens them out, leaving creases wherever they occur. Deciding which background to use, he complements or confounds each subject. The body of work is in series, usually from two to four pieces, per combined subject and background. Each model is altered differently within the series, and he never uses the original background, although sometimes contrives a combination for a more perfect pairing. The artworks have a retro quality, done in a stylized 1950's "paint by numbers" technique. It's a great reference leaving the viewer with a vintage and contemporary feel simultaneously.

Smithenry is driven to spend a lot of time searching for his subjects. The act of painting halts this mental onslaught, leaving him satisfied temporarily. This craft seems old-fashioned to him, mixing colors and using a brush to apply paint to canvas, but it's real and has physicality. Finally, it's the painting process that grounds him and helps analyze these virtual images, creating a strong tension, within his working method. This is the basis for Smithenry's compelling art.

"The artist wishes to thank the Ragdale Foundation, where he was given the time and space to complete portions of the work in this show."