In Portals and Vestibules, Laminates and Veneers, Mark R. Smith
undertakes a material exploration of found fabric, shapes and photo-based imagery that focuses on content suggestive of domestic intimacy—peripheral items from the collective memory which harness potentially transcendent power. Antique books, encyclopedic volumes, travel photos and the ubiquitous braided rugs which have followed the artist through life, serve as subject and source. Prop-like constructions and paintings, alternately spatial and flat, serve to define a ruminative space, which is matter-of-fact and metaphorical. Through labor-intensive combinations of plywood, printed fabric and membranous skins of paint, the artist points to the transformative aspects of both the working process and the inherent representational value of his visual and constructed forms.
Mark R. Smith received his BFA from The Cooper Union (New York, NY) and his MFA from Portland State University (Portland, OR). He has had solo exhibitions at the Office of the Governor (Salem, OR), Northview Gallery at Portland Community College (Portland, OR), Gallery Hlemmur (Reykjavik, Iceland), and the Art Gym at Marylhurst College (Lake Oswego, OR). Smith was included in The Oregon Biennial three times, and received the curator’s award in 1995 and 2001. He has also received many public commissions, including projects with Trimet, Providence Hospital, and the Port of Portland (all Portland, OR). Smith’s work is included in a number of public and private collections, including the American Embassy in Accra, Ghana; CityArts Inc. (New York, NY), King County Public Art Collection (Seattle WA),?Lewis and Clark College (Portland, OR), and Nike Inc. (Beaverton, OR).