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Artist ID: 2329

I. When you dig a hole, the earth mounds up next to it. It is feels unceremonious. When you fill that hole back in, the dirt stays mounded, its hard to get it all back in. But then, later it makes a depression. The bare earth stays raw for a long time. The grass comes back, creeping from the edge to the center. The weeds grow, whatever is under there compresses, and it makes a sink.
II. “It was as if the garden of Eden got cancer.” Doreen Maloney, looking at my landscape paintings.

III. Review by Honoria Tarpey
In his new work, “In the Weeds,” Brandon Clay Smith subtly sets our collective horizon on fire. In these textured landscapes of fields, fallow with flowers, weeds, and overgrowth, you become aware of the vista: the beauty of a field at rest, but also a creeping rot from below that clings to the grasses and is connected to the almost three-dimensional quality of the sky. It is as if the atmosphere of the paintings has become a form that is damaging the earth below it. These are beautiful, sublime works that instead of inviting one to reflect at first glance on peacefulness but then tend towards anxiety.
These paintings reflect Smith’s move to a farm in rural Kentucky. In their style, content, and execution, they remind me of an American version of Anselm Kiefer’s homage to Russian Velimir Khlebniko’s poems about Normandy and the aftermath of war. The open non-spaces of the landscapes, the crushing use of blacks and browns that makes us almost smell the rot and the decay and the portents of doom in the sky that is full of motion and bluster. Is the war in Smith’s paintings a foreshadowing of the ever-oncoming climate change? Or is this a scene of a more personal, interior darkness that permeates the huckleberry cliches of rural America? As viewers, we are left to ponder this question and marvel at the intense colors, masterful brushstrokes and the bucolic storm that is this masterful series of works by Brandon Clay Smith called, “In the Weeds.”

Brandon C. Smith has presented work in over 70 solo and group exhibitions nationwide. Solo exhibitions include Illinois Central College in Peoria (IL), Chadron State College in Chadron (NE), Heike Pickett Gallery (KY), University of Redlands (CA), Southern Oregon University (OR), Indiana University, (IN), Berea College (KY), Pittsburg State University (KS), Perry Nicole Fine Art (TN), Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center (KY), Tennessee Tech University (TN), Georgetown College, Georgetown (KY), Pedro Moncayo Foundation (Ibarra Ecuador).

Smith has been included in two person and group exhibitions nationwide, most recently at the UK Art Museum’s exhibition “Frankensteinian.” Group exhibition include San Joaquin Delta College (CA), Perry Nicole Fine Art (TN), Seminole Community College (FL), the Chazen Museum of Art (WI), Heike Pickett Gallery (KY), Perry Nicole Fine Art (KY), Bennett St. Gallery (GA), Amy Baber Fine Art (LA), The State University of New York (NY) among others.

As part of the Smith Townsend Collaborative, Smith has presented exhibitions at the Sculpture Center in Cleveland (OH), Murray State University (KY), Miami University (OH), New Harmony Gallery of Contemporary Art (IN) Pellissippi State College Knoxville (TN) and most recently a Merit award recipient at Art Fields in Lake City S.C.

Brandon C. Smith earned a Bachelors of Arts degree from Eastern Kentucky University (KY) in 2000, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Cincinnati (OH) in 2004. He was a recipient of the Al Smith Kentucky Individual Artist Grant. Smith is a Senior Lecturer of Art at the University of Kentucky and lives on a farm in KY.

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