Zak Smith: Pictures Of Girls
Interview by Shamim Momin.
Strippers, internet pin-up girls, ex-girlfriends, fellow artists and even a few fictional females help form the cast of twenty-first-century characters in Zak Smith's Pictures of Girls. According to the catalogue for the 2004 Whitney Biennial, Smith's “stylized portraits and acidic abstractions intimately capture stillness in an ever-encroaching world [with] a deconstructed neo-punk aesthetic conversant in comic book-style drawing, vivid psychedelic coloration, experimental photographic processes and traditional draftsmanship.” The core of this monograph--the artist's first--focuses on Smith's best-known work, his candy colored paintings of female friends. These young faces, depicted with uncanny precision, stare out from the detailed clutter of complex lives in painting that combine wildly disparate aesthetic modes. Photocopy-like photorealism collides with oversaturated expressionism. Jagged graffiti-like lines and a patterned intricacy compete with the horror vacui of Persian miniature painting. Pictures of Girls also samples a wide variety of Smith's large-scale drawing projects, including selections from the ground breaking Pictures of What Happens on Each Page of Thomas Pynchon's Novel Gravity's Rainbow, the experimental 8 Variations, Drawn, Then Painted On, Then Painted, created using hybrids of drawing, painting and photochemistry as well as the tiny, erotic, jewel-colored paintings that make up his most recent project, the decadent and obsessive 100 Girls and 100 Octopuses.