Art Nerd New York | Los Angeles

Past the Pillars of Hercules

Before the “selfie” there was the self-portrait. The advent of photography changed everything for artists. But with experiments in new media pushing art forward, some artists are choosing to look back. Painter, Aaron Smith, is taking on the Western Art canon with vibrant, colorful portraits that feel freshly original yet incredibly familiar in Past the Pillars of Hercules, presented by Sloan Fine Art. Catch the opening this Friday, October 25 at 6pm.

Aaron Smith locates his paintings, thematically, in the historical moment when the advent of photography began to usurp painting’s primary role in the realistic representation of our collective experience. Working from early photography, which often mimicked the formality and grandeur of Academic Painting, Smith infuses his images with the formal concerns of Modernism as well as the digital palette of our times. His paintings playfully acknowledge the breaking-down of Western Society’s patriarchal and hetero-normative past. Images of stoic Victorian gentlemen are transformed though vivid color and sensual brushwork into exotic, vulnerable creatures of desire. “Past the Pillars of Hercules” is Smith’s third solo show with Sloan Fine Art.
Aaron Smith attended Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where he is now an associate chair. In addition to solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, Chicago and New York, Smith has been featured in group shows at galleries and museums nationwide. These include the Laguna Art Museum, Frye Art Museum, Torrance Art Museum and Museum of South Texas. He was the first artist in residence at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Smith currently resides in Silver Lake, California with his husband Tom and their dogs Flora, Miles and El Capitan.
Smart Clothes Gallery, acting as host for the exhibition, is located at 154 Stanton Street, at the corner of Suffolk Street in New York City. The opening reception for “Past the Pillars of Hercules,” on Friday, October 25th from 6-9pm is free and open to the public. The show runs through November 17th and gallery hours are Wednesday through Sunday, noon to 6:30pm.

After four years on the Lower East Side of New York, Sloan Fine Art founder/curator/director Alix Sloan closed the physical space in late 2011 to pursue the less constrictive approach of a nomadic gallery. Over the past two years the gallery has participated in multiple art fairs and mounted solo and group exhibitions in various cities including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Miami.

Images l to r: “Pukka,”  60×40 inches, “Blaggard,” 24×18 inches, both 2013, oil on panel

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