Edgar Smith: Art 2015

My recent body of work represents a response to public vs. private land issues in the Northwest. Several of the works focus specifically on the Clark Fork River drainage in Montana, from Silver Bow Creek and Butte, to areas just west of the Missoula valley. The concepts surrounding these works range from the impact of heavy industry, to simply celebrating the Clark Fork River and its unique qualities. The paintings range from map-like aerial views to traditionally composed oil paintings of industrial sites, including the recently established remediation ponds of the Opportunity/Anaconda Superfund site, built in conjunction with the Milltown site clean up. Mixed media works are made from various materials collected on site. The wall installation materials include cottonwood bark, beeswax, and mine tailings, and functions as a metaphor of the Clark Fork River and its complex history.

I am also an avid cyclist and explorer on the bike. One of my recent installations involved recording 50 rides completed the summer of 2013 (some of which functioned as means for documenting areas along or near the Clark Fork River watershed) and the resulting digital line created via a GPS app. I projected and translated that line to the gallery wall using acrylic paint. The deliberate action of cycling on a path creates the oppositional effect of an abstract, unintentional mark. I also attempted to break free of a path with an "intentional mark", riding my bike for a ten minute block in free-form loops on a site by the Clark Fork River, originally a Champion Lumber mill site, turned baseball park. Besides drawing attention to the site itself, it was in part an attempt to create a drawing in the spirit of Bryce Marden. The recorded digital mark was then scaled up to approximately 5x7 feet and projected onto the gallery wall using the same orange acrylic paint.