Peter Smyth - Painter & Sculptor

This time in our Irish Artists series we look at sculptor and painter Peter Smyth. Check out a selection of his work below, along with a few words explaining his thought process.
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The work is conceived through a systematic process. It begins with the insertion of modular sculptures as performative interventions amongst the urban landscape, stumbling upon a variety of different types of locations within the city. The focus is primarily on capturing a fleeting, unpredictable stream of experience, letting our bodies unfold a new perception of the landscape which dictate where the sculptures should be situated. Public engagement is encouraged, whilst the sculptures reflect, abstract and distort their architectural and sentient surroundings. Once a location is chosen, I would begin to orchestrate the placement of the sculptures, allowing me to play with how the objects engage with and reflect each other and that which is external to them. Meanwhile, two accomplices capture my interaction with the sculptures and the landscape. Each of us individually perceive things very different depending on our position in relation to the work seen, and even more so we aren’t completely aware of what the mechanical device actually manages to store and display on screen.

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Through recording these encounters I gather both video and still photographic source material which in turn mediates the raw experience. These experiences have become information and have circulated from device to device. From there, digital line drawings are produced through computer programmes. They are then layered and used as means to create paintings. All art-forms within the process are intended to be standalone pieces in themselves, not just a means to produce paintings. They are at the same time, a network of objects, paintings, digital and physical imagery. They reference each other within this network, though they are not constrained to it, but are implicitly externalized due to them being a channelling and transition of experience within the world they are a part of.

However, since graduating from NCAD, I have postponed the construction of new sculptures and slightly abandoned the expanded links to other mediums. Possibly due to a transitional period post college or limited space and time. Yet my paintings retain the similarities in how they are conceived. I have sometimes tried to emulate the way in which they were painted previously, yet considering the materiality of the paint further paying more attention to what is happening on the canvas.

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For the upcoming group exhibition I am a part of, which will take place in the complex in march, my paintings are following my own system of production but my source material is less tangible. I won’t reveal too much, just think Bladerunner, brutalist architecture, rawness, digital satellite imagery, capitalist realism, space and of course gradients. The exhibition will include work across multiple mediums from my fellow recent NCAD graduates Emma Howe, Hannah Bloom, Janis Liepa and Julie Weber. Also wthin this exhibition we have Musician Alex Harvey, the guitarist from Dublin band Vernon Jane, playing some experimental, improvisational live music in response to the work which promises to heighten and compliment each artists individual pieces of work.

No date is confirmed yet but Follow me on Instagram @ petersmyth for updates.

Author: Peter Smyth
Editor: Adam Nolan-Horan
Photos: @jack_farrell
16 January 2018

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