Face Off: Patrick Smith with Victor Hammer

Nov 10 2020 to Apr 3 2021
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Collage of two images. Painting left: Patrick Smith, Self Portrait in Fur, 2018, acrylic on paper. Photograph right: Victor Hammer, Portrait of Albrecht Graf von Bernstorff, 1926, mezzotint on paper.

Patrick Smith is a Lexington-based painter known for his realistic works on paper based on photographs he takes of various friends. These detailed works are informed by the artist's deep interest in the history of representational art, and his process of collaborating with his sitters on their poses, costume, makeup, and lighting. The resulting images are powerfully intimate, as heads and torsos that are often tattooed or pierced embody states of confrontation, vulnerability, and reverie. He has also consistently depicted himself, playing with assumptions about gender and exploring qualities of fragility and theatricality.  

Smith's paintings are presented in combination with several prints by the Austrian artist Victor Hammer (1882 – 1967) who came of age during the Vienna Secession—a period dominated by artists like Gustav Klimt and Egon Schiele. Hammer's works in different media are part of the UK Art Museum's collection. His mezzotint portraits depict his friends, including affluent individuals and diplomats, who—like the artist himself—were living in the complex and dangerous context of Europe in the 1930s. 

Both artists, while coming from distinct historical periods and points of view, share a painstaking attention to detail and a commitment to labor-intensive processes that give their depictions of unique human beings a profound humanity and intensity.  

In collaboration with the Museum, a solo exhibition of recent works by Patrick Smith will be on view at Institute 193 from November 18, 2020 - January 16, 2021. 

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