Themes and Process

Homage to a City
The work is the culmination of a lengthy stay in Florence in 2014. I spent most of my days in
Florence looking up! In this city of religous art I found myself drawn to photographing the sky.
Elements of architecture are the containers for sky. It seems to me, the sky is the only constant
wherever we are. Its “nothingness” is the universal.

All of the paintings, save one, are paired with digital photographs that I took in Florence—
photographs of a washed out fresco, pavements and walls.
The paintings were finished and I later added the “crown” of a photograph. The physicality of the
paintings is contrasted with flat photographs. I think about ways of “being” and ways of “seeing”.
What constitutes “being” and what constitutes “seeing”—presence and memory. They augment
each other, but the relationship of the digital images to the paintings only infers a possibility of

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

Jo Smail
April 2015
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