From Sharne Wolff…
Catherine Clayton-Smith is an emerging painter and a recent graduate of the National Art School. In her first solo show, a small group of works traverse the frontiers of legibility and abstraction. Clayton-Smith notes that her Spirit Level series examines forms of public grief and mourning. A self-imposed challenge witnesses her desire to focus the viewer’s response in a time of constant image saturation and fleeting attention.
Taking final shape over many months, these paintings are derived from a collection of stored imagery and constant personal interrogation. Marks are intuitively recorded and erased, layered over and shifted. Clayton-Smith invokes the imagination by breaking down the elements of visual recognition in her work. When looking at these abstract pictures the viewer sees only fragments of recognisable things. In Baggage a probable figure is not discernably male or female, while in High Hopes several abstract figures seem to be moving or watching as part of a crowd. In these ambiguous paintings potential narratives might be conjured by the viewer but, once hooked, what appeared as unequivocal detail might just as easily morph into mysterious remnants of coloured paint. It’s this state of “faltering permanence” that the artist hopes to achieve.
Until July 5
Alaska Projects, Elizabeth Bay
Pic: Catherine Clayton-Smith Baggage, acrylic on canvas, 66 x 71cm. Photo: Dominic Byrne. Courtesy the artist.