“…yes I want to be alone for a bit and look out the window or in the window or somewhere between the window and the outside.”
In the collection of paintings exhibited in New Work, Andrew Smaldone approaches the relationship of interior and exterior by not confronting either specifically but rather letting the complexity of the subject be represented by what at first seems a simple rendering of an architectural study. However, after further delving into the artwork, the actual intricacy of these pieces slowly surfaces and encompasses a variety of contemplations.
The paintings, all appropriated images from drawings of stairwells and architectural renderings, originate from both a fascination with and aversion to contemporary architecture. More precisely, the idea that these structures have the potential to be erected in any location, at any moment, in the same way, is the most concerning quality of the subject matter. The permanent quality of architecture, although only relative, contrast with the more emotive traits of the paintings. In the series of paintings based on models by German architect Thomas Wirsing, Smaldone works from photographs taken from diverse perspectives and translates them onto the canvas. Certain aspects of the pieces are left unfinished, which allow the viewer to perceive a correlation with how structures are made. The empty spaces draw the viewer into cold and silent areas where a diffused light invites contemplation. The use of a flat plane of color in the forefront of Model #4 creates a barrier or invades the viewer’s space as much as the viewer is drawn into the space beyond the barrier. So the play between flat or close space and ‘far’ space, created through the use of perspective, is a central theme in these works.
A similar co-creation with Swiss architect, Martin Siegrist, produced the painting Office (after Lakeshore House). Here the artist more or less reproduces the architect’s graphically designed Lakeshore House. Once again, the viewer is left standing in an empty space, much like an architectural plan. The flat planes guide along the surface and direct one’s gaze out the far window and back along the cast shadow from the incoming light. An embracing light that the artist revisits in his paintings of stairs, where the simplicity of the subject is treated with the same references to time and space.
The structures in these works exist only on paper, as models, and in these paintings. The potential to be created anywhere along with their anonymity make them all the more intriguing. They lay the foundation necessary to explore the questions of time, structure, space and permanence. The artist both presents a detached perspective and yet offers deep introspection. There is a sense of silence that permeates these pieces creating a sanctuary, a place of meditation, creating the pause before continuation.