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University of Connecticut University Libraries

UConn Library Exhibitions

October 21 - December 21, 2007

Red Chair, by Melissa Smith.  All rights reserved.


Red Chair, by Melissa Smith. All rights reserved.


Altered Focus: Paintings by Melissa Smith

Homer Babbidge Library Stevens Gallery
Curator: David Kapp and Jean Nelson

Melissa Smith's work is about glancing into mysterious yet familiar space. It engages the viewer to puzzle out complexities, to discover the unexpected in the layered content of the visual language. Using photo imagery as a compositional tool, Smith moves images from their original context into her painted version of them.

"I strive to extend a moment in time and to visually convey the essence of that moment, floating between physical sight and intuitive insight," she says. "By playing with out-of-focus effects and selective blurring, I can suggest a world hovering between abstraction and representation. With all of this, my personal devotion to color and the layering of color stays constant."

Smith quotes the painter Marsden Hartley, who began a poem with "that luscious look of something becoming something else in front of one," to describe the mystery she experiences during the creative process. "Painting," she says, "allows me a sacred thrill."

Melissa Smith was born and raised in Texas. She earned her BFA from Ohio State University and her MS Ed. from Bank Street College of Education and Parson's School of Design in New York. She is the Director of the Art School at Norwich Free Academy in Norwich, Connecticut.

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