June2-2017-Skidmore-MaxineSmith-SmokinSkidmore Contemporary Art presents “Faces in the Crowd!” featuring the art of Maxine Smith.

Maxine Smith, Smokin’, 2017, Oil on canvas, 60″ x 36″

Maxine Smith describes herself as an observer, whose interest in faces from a young age led her to explore their representation in her art. “It fascinated me, and still does, that in this over-populated world we live in, there are no two faces alike,” Smith says. “Very similar perhaps, but not identical.” Smith’s work often deals with representations of strangers, posed in unusual positions and captured in intimate close up with bold, vibrant uses of color.

“The chances are I will never see that person again, a stranger who on canvas will linger,” Smith says of her subjects. She typically eschews the stereotypically beautiful in favor of more nuance, character, and life experience in a person’s visage. “What is behind the smile, the glance, the body language?” she asks. “It is that story that comes alive for me.”

June2-2017-Skidmore-MaxineSmith-Bellman-3In her second one-person exhibition at Skidmore Contemporary Art, Smith gives her newest paintings a clever formal twist by her use of a monochromatic palette. While the method is reductive, the colors and visual effect are the opposite. The portraits range from rich compositions in a range of grays, to vibrant palettes of blues, optic shades of pink, and intense lipstick red. 

Maxine Smith, Bellman #3, 2017, Oil on canvas, 60 ” x 36″

The majority of Smith’s subjects are female; all are intensely alive. Some recall characters from vintage film—a siren with heavy eye shadow who pouts for a camera’s gaze and a forties ingenue in pajamas toys with a man’s cigar. Lucy in the Sky references the classic Beatles song and depicts a young girl attired in a psychedelic-hued array of garments. A wistful sailor painted in blues might have stepped from a silent screen, and a bellman gazes past us with expressive eyes which belie an artistic inner life in contrast to his tailored daily livery.

The gallery will also be featuring works by Robert Charles Dunahay – read more about it HERE.

On view: May 20 – June 17, 2017

Where: Skidmore Contemporary Art, Bergamot Station, 2525 Michigan Avenue, B-4, Santa Monica, 90404
When: Friday, June 2, 2017, 6:00pm – 9:00pm 

Phone: 310-828-5070