Stephen Smith is a UK based artist that makes work that draws on a process of construction and deconstruction.
In the hands of Smith, canvas is not used as a neutral vehicle for carrying paint. Instead it functions as an integral component of his paintings on a par with the colours and forms that adorn them. Canvas is ripped, torn, folded, stretched, saturated, cut, sewn, creased and layered. Many of these processes stand out for their physicality; they represent impositions upon the canvas, severing the canvas as a butcher might a carcass, foisting Smith’s will upon the material with force.
The results however do not ring out of violence, or at least not a spurious or wholly destructive violence, because this process of dismantling represents the means by which his paintings are simultaneously reconstructed. Smith describes this as his wrangling of beauty with brutality.
Smith strives to keep as many options as possible open for the marks and incisions that stalk his painted surfaces, whether intentionally drawn, impressed or accidentally dripped or bled.