“Something happened in the Renaissance, something that surged up against the constraints that
centuries had constructed around curiosity, desire, individuality, sustained attention to the
material world, the claims of the body.”
Stephen Greenblatt

In 2014 I spent 4 months in Florence, Italy taking photographs.

Looking at:
“To see the world in a grain of sand…  hold infinity in the palm of your hand” William Blake
Looking up at the sky, thinking:
“Could there be a number that is nothing? That is less than zero? That begins where there is no
beginning because it always was? And was before always?” Clarice Lispector
Looking down:
“The way up and the way down are one and the same” Heraclitus

Influenced by the photographs, the paintings were made in my studio on my return this summer.
Bare canvas:  a constant reminder of beginnings
I patch:  construct, build
I glue:  cover up
I tear:  like giving birth
I cut:  damage or break
I wrap:  like clothing
I paint:  reveal, excavate
Pattern evokes origins

The physicality of the paintings are contrasted with flat photographs.
I think about ways of “being” and ways of “seeing”.
What constitutes “being” and what constitutes “seeing”?

Presence and memory.

Jo Smail
October 2014
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