“Light Into Darkness” (2022), oil on canvas, 60 x 78 inches
In vibrant oil paintings evocative of roiling oceans or atmospheric vistas, Samantha Keely Smith relies on confident, swift strokes to guide the composition. Hovering between abstraction and depictions of landscapes (previously), tonal contrasts and complementary colors emphasize dramatic movements suggestive of crashing waves or storms. “All of my work explores the idea that the line between our conscious and unconscious (experiences) is often blurry and that occasionally we are able the straddle both sides at once,” she tells Colossal.
Smith’s recent work has evolved into a looser, more freeform style that has taught her the value of experimentation or going with the flow. “Most importantly, I have given myself permission to completely fail occasionally and not feel bad about it,” she says. “I will sometimes pull a canvas off the stretcher and throw it away. In the past, I would fight to the bitter end to try to save something that just wasn’t working, which was ultimately a waste of my time and effort.”