Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Gary Haven Smith

McGowan Fine Art announces the opening of “Focal Point” featuring recent paintings and sculptures by Gary Haven Smith. The show will run from April 13 to May 14, with an opening reception on April 16 from 5 to 7 PM. It is free and open to the public.

Gary Haven Smith has long been recognized as one of New Hampshire’s premier sculptors – completing such public works as The Source, a large sculpture at the Thorne-Sagendorf Gallery at Keene State College and the fountain in the entry of Concord Hospital. Many of his paintings and sculptures are in private and public collections throughout the state including the Currier Gallery of Art and the New Britain Museum of Art.

Color takes a back seat in Gary Haven Smith’s most recent paintings as an outcome of his landscape photographs. Leaves, trees and grasses are a jumping off point for the broad patterns etched into the surface of his paintings. He heightens the contrast by using silver leaf on the dark natural surface of slate. In “Soffice” the reference to a forest scene is still apparent on the surface of the slate. Vertical lines of tree trunks are broken up by the silver silhouettes of leaves. Rich red paint on a textured lead surface hint at the soil beneath- creating an overall play of pattern. The influence of photography has distorted the images in this case so that there are both seen and unseen images. “We don’t see things as clearly as we want to,” says Smith.

His large-scale granite sculptures continue in the same vein as his previous work, exploring curved lines and textured surfaces. Smith says “I see it as deconstructing the boulder.” This is a reference to his cutting into the oversized granite boulders and, in many cases, piecing them back together. In the bench he created for this show he has inserted a smooth, highly-colored piece of red granite into the rough undersurface of a boulder. The geometric perfection of this base fits in like a puzzle piece. The found shape of the sitting surface provides another counterpoint to the seemingly random exterior of the raw stone- the perfect marriage of beauty and function.

There will be a studio tour at Mr. Smith’s home on May 8 at 10:30 AM. People interested in attending should RSVP to the gallery at 603-225-2515. The group will meet at McGowan Fine Art at 10 AM to carpool to his studio.