Smith, Philip

Portrait #9, 1992

Image for Portrait #9, 1992

Philip Smith was one of the five artists featured in the landmark 1977 Pictures exhibition at Artists Space in New York, which announced the arrival of a new wave of postmodern practices. Like his peers in the Pictures generation (such as Cindy Sherman and Laurie Simmons, whose works are on view nearby), Smith’s artworks derive from pre-existing images, typically photographs the artist has taken of mundane sights found during his daily peregrinations. Smith assembles this source material into dense webs of pictographs that resist clear decoding, inscribing them onto surfaces that have been carefully prepared to allow for multiple drawings and erasures. The layers of imagery that result from this process—some of it sharply rendered, much of it partially obscured—take on the appearance of memories fading into and out of awareness. As Smith explains, “I wanted to…create a new sea of images where you would feel you were almost drowning in the imagery to the point of hallucinogenic unconsciousness.”

Medium Oil and wax on linen
Dimensions 10 x 7 in.
Donor Gift of the Cottrell-Lovett Collection
Credit Line Grey Art Gallery, New York University Art Collection (c) Philip Smith
Object ID 2021.5.44


Collection Years: 1992