About

It is the diarist’s impulse to record as much as possible in an attempt to capture that which we will ultimately—and tragically—lose. It is of course a futile enterprise. But this does not diminish the drive. For some artists, including myself, the impulse to create is similar. I have always been an obsessive recorder of experience. For most of my life, my medium was words. I was a poet first and playwright second. The shift to painting several years ago was unanticipated. Yet now that the dust from this unexpected transformation has settled, I see that it’s simply a continuation of what I’ve always done.

To be a poet is to have the ability and desire to distill things to their essence. A painting, when successful, does what poetry does: It captures a moment in time, what is here and what is gone. It captures mood. It holds in place eternally the eternal moment that vanishes almost as soon as it is apprehended. To be a playwright, on the other hand, this is to tell stories by putting characters on a stage to stand before you and reveal themselves. My paintings do the same. The theatricality now is wordless, but no less replete with character.

As an artist, character fascinates me, but color is what anchors me. Color is where I begin and end. It is no less lyrical and labile as meter is in poetry. A poet searches for le mot juste; a painter, a colorist, at any rate, searches for the perfect color. Both tell more than multitudes of their ill-chosen counterparts could ever tell. As a lifelong storyteller, I am continually amazed and awed by the complexity of color and line, by how profoundly the slightest changes in either can influence the story emerging out of the paint. It is as mysterious a thing as I have ever known. It is the language of painting, and it is now my language. 

My palette and themes are often playful, quite childlike in aspect (though oftentimes grounded in a fierce historicism), evoking the timelessness of childhood, when we entered worlds free of doubt or disbelief. What was fantastic, what was magical, whatever we brought our playful spirits to, was not only real for us, but hyper-real. I bring this same spirit to my paintings with the intention of creating a similar sense of hyper-reality, what I sometimes like to call Viewmaster Cinderella. Most especially, I want my paintings to come alive, to be worlds you can enter into and experience, where you and the painting become collusive in the act of storytelling.

Although as a painter I eschew what I call narrative markers, that is, familiar objects or structures that place the subject in a recognizable setting with recognizable objects (after all, I want the stories to be your own), I nevertheless view narrative as the driving force behind all my work. Stories are important. They are what adhere us to ourselves. They connect us to our personal as well as our collective past, they stitch us to the future, and through them, we become the other.

Melinda R. Smith

May 2015

http://lacda.com/exhibits/Melinda_R_Smith.html

Melinda R. Smith CV

Solo Shows______________________________________________________________

2017

Melinda Smith, Monopole Wine, Pasadena, California

2015

New WorksFall 2015, Michael Florio Fine Art and Design, Greenwich, Connecticut

New Works, Spring 2015, Michael Florio Fine Art and Design, Greenwich, Connecticut

2013

Post-Literate, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

Juried Shows____________________________________________________________

2014

Sugar Rush, En Em Art Space, Sacramento, California

LACDA 2014 “Top 40” Juried Competition Winners Exhibit, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

Group Shows____________________________________________________________

2017

Wow! Art Show, Beyond the Lines Gallery, Santa Monica, California

Diversiform, Beaudry Gallery, Dallas, Texas

Figures and Faces, Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

Female FigureBeyond the Lines Gallery, Santa Monica, California

Storytellers, Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

AbstractBeyond the Lines Gallery, Santa Monica, California

Women in Art, Las Laguna Gallery, Laguna Beach, California

2016

PortraitsBeyond the Lines Gallery, Santa Monica, California

PlayLos Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Los Angeles, California

2015

Brooklyn Biennial, Cotton Candy Machine, Brooklyn, New York

Dulce Stein Presents: Artworld Bootcamp Group Show: NEW WORK, Phantom Galleries, Los Angeles, California

Eleventh Anniversary Represented Artists Exhibit, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

2014

L.A. Flyby, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

Ten Year Represented Artists Retrospective, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

International Group Exhibit, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

2013

L.A. Fly By, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

Eighth Anniversary Retrospective Members' Exhibit, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

2012

L.A.ndscapes, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

Group Exhibit in the Electron Salon, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California

2011

Group Exhibit in the Electron Salon, Los Angeles Center for Digital Art, Los Angeles, California