Carl Smith’s second solo show at Little Pink Monster Gallery ran for a little over a week. The show had around nineteen pieces on view, mostly abstract paintings on canvas and some smaller works on paper. About one-third of the show was paintings made with mostly spray paint. The largest was a spray-painted sixty-five inch square work on canvas and this one had a different, perhaps better sense of scale and execution than the other works. Some of these spray-painted works edged closer to pure abstraction but still missed in my opinion.
It’s hard to say whether or not the show was good. I mean there were some good works in the show and some were clunkers of course, but mostly I saw an artist struggling for a voice and searching for a unique way to make paintings. Landscape is about has simple a point of reference has you can get but can also be a template for exploring bigger artistic ideas. This seems to be the case with Carl. I wrote this in my last review, I’ll say it again; I think Carl is on the path to finding a voice but is not quite there.
I think the art world is full of very weird ideas about how art should be made. Artists are sometimes lazy and occasionally lie about how good their art is and how much it is worth. For all of Carl’s faults I will say he is attempting to be honest about who he is and where he is in his development. And I must say I find this refreshing. This behavior ensures nothing but could lead to something and if it does it will be hard won and earned.
Another positive in this show was the sales prices. Nothing is more annoying than an artist who overvalues themselves and their work and has absolutely no reservations expressing this in the sales price of their art. Please, seriously consider if your art is good, artists. Is it really worth thousands and thousands of dollars? Please keep in mind the world is watching and art history is brutal.
I am not surprised to see few people taking on the challenge of abstract painting but the ones who do seem to fall into a life of mystery and confusion searching for and dealing with the true meaning of creation. Humans are probably not meant to know the entire truth about creation. What would humans do with that information? If politicians could create planets would they use that power for good? I have my doubts, but if you do decide to paint and try to find a voice in that you can rest assured you probably won’t get too far in life. If you are lucky, really lucky, you will push painting forward a tiny bit but you will be judged for it and you will be excruciatingly questioned and ostracized.
Also, know that if you do find a voice you will probably get very far away from being able to make a dollar. I have not worked out the math on this but I know there is a correlation between how creative you are and how unlikely it will be that you will be able to make money. Paint breasts, cattle, and longhorns but by no means try to be yourself unless you want to live alone in a world of pain. You’ll make few friends and decrease the odds you’ll sell art to people who are mostly looking for ease and comfort in their imagery.
The artists that lie about their abilities and hide their limitations will always win the day. The artists that claim to be gods when they are not will make it difficult for artists with simple goals to survive at the most basic of levels. I see this all the time and nothing makes me sadder than good artists who are honest and kind getting steamrolled by people who can only think in short-term/high-dollar terms.
Hopefully Carl sees a good day in his future with some fairness and empathy.