Visual Arts Program

Friday, November 9, 2018 — Friday, December 21, 2018

Guy Richards Smit

Guilty of Everything

In 2003, several watercolor works by Guy Richards Smit were included in the Hallwalls' group exhibition B-LIST: Brooklyn, Angst, and Desire. He returns fifteen years later with a new series of large-scale paintings (9 x 12 feet) in a solo exhibition. The time in between has proved to temper neither Smit's angst or desire and his paintings continue to portray ambiguous vignettes laced with dark humor and unsettling emotional currents, rendered with a lush, painterly hand. The visual beauty of Smit's work complicates its darker and desultory themes.

As the title of the new series implies, someone is Guilty of Everything. The artist, perhaps. The tawdry and off-kilter characters he portrays, certainly. The audience and all of us, possibly. Shame, failure, and ambiguous morality are the textures within Smit's work that extend his images from mere comic dissemblings to broader ethical and personal questions. If one is guilty of everything, is there a redemptive space that remains? Or are we all merely hopeless and fallible? In Smit’s work, a wry and often dark sense of humor prevails, but not at the expense of deeply humanist impulses. The deep wells of pathos in which he and his characters wade are revelatory vignettes about the human condition—its preening absurdity, its defeatist impulses, its endurance in the face of an indifferent world and problematic circumstances.

For the last decade, Guy Richards Smit has been known for his paintings, video installations, musicals and performances exploring the themes of narcissism, desire, power and failure. Using pop cultural forms such as Stand Up comedy, Pop Music, Comic Books and paintings of newspaper front pages he's conveyed a sharply observant cultural and political message with philosophical observations and humor.
His work has included serving as the lead singer for band Maxi Veil (German for “really horny”) and, since 1996, performance and (more recently, sitcom episodes) playing the role of Jonathan Grossmalerman, whose last name is pig-German for "big painter guy," is a successful, alcoholic New York painter who has moved into low-end stand-up comedy.:
Smit continues to add to his ongoing Mountain of Skulls series, which collapses emotions, buzzwords, and sentiments into a single, lowly common denominator. And, during the Trump Era, Smit has also begun a series of speculative New York Times cover paintings.

Guy Richards Smit's work has been seen at the Pompidou Center (2015) and in biennials in Havana, Valencia and at ARCOMadrid in 2008 and Dublin Contemporary in 2011. Solo exhibitions include The Grossmalerman Show at Pierogi Gallery (2014), Schroeder Romero & Shredder, New York, USA 2011; Fred [London] Ltd., London, UK 2009; Nausea 2, Premier Series, Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA 2004; QED, Los Angeles, CA in 2006. He has received awards including the Penny McCall Foundation Award in 2004.

Some publications related to this event:
Guy Richards Smit - Guilty of Everything - 2018