June 3rd, 2013

Greg Parma Smith at Balice Hertling

Artist: Greg Parma Smith

Venue: Balice Hertling, Paris

Exhibition Title:
In a Station of the Metro
The apparition       of these faces       in the crowd   :
Petals    on a wet, black        bough   .

Date: May 16 – June 15, 2013

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Full gallery of images, press release and link available after the jump.


Images courtesy of Balice Hertling, Paris

Press Release:

“ In a Station of the Metro
The apparition       of these faces       in the crowd   :
Petals    on a wet, black        bough   .”
(Ezra Pound, 1913)

Balice Hertling is pleased to announce In a Station of the Metro The apparition of these faces in the crowd: Petals on a wet, black bough, an exhibition of new work by Greg Parma Smith. For his first solo show in Paris, Parma Smith continues his investigation into art subcultures that exist outside of art history. While previous series have explored such subcultures as academic figure painting and comic book animation, these works draw on graffiti art, craft, and Orientalism. The title of the show quotes the entire Ezra Pound poem “In a Station of the Metro” (1913) which describes a moment that Pound experienced in a metro station in Paris. The poem recently appeared in the Manhattan subway as part of the MTA Poetry in Motion project which aims to bring poetry to the masses.

Two oil paintings (« 1913, I » and « 1913, II ») depict spray paint caps painted from life. While graffiti artists originally used spray paint made for industrial painting, these works show the diverse array of spray paint colors which are now manufactured specifically for graffiti and street art. Embedded beneath the layer of oil paint, elderly “faces in the crowd,” real plastic masks, disrupt the smooth surface of the picture plane.

Like graffiti art, the craft of origami is valued aesthetically and economically according to rules outside of contemporary art. Stacks of patterned origami paper, the patterns designed by Parma Smith himself, appear in two oil, acrylic, and metallic leaf paintings (« Xanadu I » and « Xanadu II ») in the show.

The Asian theme continues in two oil paintings (« On a wet, black bough I » and « On a wet, black bough II ») depicting animals, their style influenced by the simplicity and naturalism of Song Dynasty scrolls. Both paintings feature images of black bows relating to the “wet, black boughs” in Pound’s haiku inspired poem. These black trees also appear in a wall painting , invigorating the game of references initiated by the artist.

Link: Greg Parma Smith at Balice Hertling

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