Stefan Smit, a young committed portrait and figurative artist local to Johannesburg is pleased to announce the unveiling of a new body of work – Curb, an intimate solo exhibition consisting of medium format portraits and figure paintings that opens on 5 December 2018.
Smit utilises traditional oil painting techniques with a distinct sense of confidence with new improvised applications and surface tensions laden into the surfaces of his paintings. Approaching the subjects in his work in such a manner as to echo the urban environments captured in the Artist’s ethereal city compositions and constructs, influenced by urban conditioning.
‘I am witnessing a period in time where city dwelling and structural systems bring together thousands of people in confined areas or spaces, it is contradictory when neighbours whom have lived next to one another for years know little to nothing about one another. Similarly, individuals staying in smaller towns and in the countryside will know their postman’s name and what their neighbour does for a living. In the city we are becoming over consumed, overtly stimulated and unaware of our positioning to others.’ (Smit: 2018).
Echoing his viewpoint on urban city structures and the effects environments have on culture, the Artist purposefully distorts distinct elements of our built environmental structures surrounding the characters represented in his works. Stefan Smit utilises emerging parts of the background with varied areas of impasto rich oil paint and mark making, whilst resonating a discerning sense of romantic realism in his landscapes and architectural renderings as true and accurate in depiction. Smit approaches his subjects as if to comment and observe how our surroundings are almost more familiar to us than the people whom inhabit them.
By representing commonplace figures and subjects, the Artist’s work displays a disconnection he has witnessed between communities and their urban surrounds. His practice induces a longing for familiarity or connection between the viewer and their environments, ultimately between the characters themselves. Figures are often captured in bewilderment, isolation or contemplative states, never always alone but seemingly always lost in translation with their surrounds.
The exhibition speaks of a wider conversation regarding the impacts of globalisation; mass consumption; consumer driven culture and the overall rise of technology and communications systems means that the world population and borders are coming closer together whilst also creating further isolation – all facilitated through the use and reliance on technological inanimate objects.
These aspects of popular culture lead us into further segregation, much like the comparison Smit draws between the surroundings and the subjects whom dwell within them. Curb exposes a certain liability and existing relationship we have with our surroundings and similarly with the populous we are situated amongst. City planning has had a major effect on how our connections are developed, maintained and effected. Often how one chooses to interact with their immediate city structures and environments determines how their mental and social well-being will either flourish or disassociate from their day to day routines without much comprehension.
The exhibition launches at the GTC offices in Sandton, Johannesburg on 5 December, and will be open for one night only. To receive a catalogue or to RSVP to the opening, kindly email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.