ORIGINS: Jason E. Smith

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Canaanite/Ugaritic mythology

ORIGINS: Jason E. Smith

Smith’s art springs from his imagination as inspired by ancient tales, myths, mystical texts, primitive artifacts, tribal histories, pictographs, and numerous anthropological musings. The work is partly shamanistic, partly ritualistic and partly spiritualist. Inter-mixed with these rich evocations from the past are contemporary influences of anime and tattoo art as well as echoes of post-1960s spiritual yearning.

Origin/creation stories make-up the first section of the show. Such stories  interweave with the most fundamental human intellectual and spiritual endeavors, because they attribute meaning to the world as we experience it. Such myths explain the roots of good andevil, purpose and chance, fortune and misfortune, even birth and death. Additionally, they are inseparable from science, mathematics, geography, astrology, astronomy, architecture, art and virtually every other human enterprise. A drama of truly cosmic proportions plays out around us pitting against each other earth and sky, water and fire, and all of the uproars of the Heavens. In them giants stride the cosmos stirring passions and defying each other at will. We humans, subject to this high theater, must content ourselves with rituals and shamanistic interventions in an effort to appease, placate, or curry favor in order to turn events to our benefit. Smith dares to give pictorial form to this celestial drama which is set on every continent and has played out over all of time. He shuttles us from ancient Mesopotamia to the Nile Valley, from the spine of Mayan meso-America to the dark forest of the Norsemen of northern Europe, from the Dogon speculating on the Dog Star to the Phoenicians plying the seven seas. Smith’s exploration is daunting and fascinating, taking us into world that we can only dimly know as we probe timeless narratives of birth, emergence and domination.

Yoruba People

The Lost Races series follows. In this series, Smith questions the accepted timeline of history for the Americas, as well as the races that inhabited it. He examines ideas suggested by data inferred from “ancient petroglyphs, rock carvings, paintings, sculpture and artifacts found at archaeological sites throughout these territories. It explores many of the forgotten or unaddressed aspects of this history and the races that existed on the American continents. The influences for this body of work includes: the Mound Builder civilizations of the United States; records of ancient burial sites; mounds and caves around the country where strange and interesting artifacts have been found; the stone sculptures of Monte Alto and La Venta of Olmec or pre-Olmec times; artifacts found in Jalisco, Mexico; the pre-Inca site of Tiahuanaco in Bolivia; Inca stones of Peru; and what is known of the mythological legends surrounding all of these respective cultures.”

Jason E. Smith

Born in Newport, RI, Smith attended The Pennfield School, St. Georges and Portsmouth School. After graduating from Community College of Rhode Island, he earned a BFA degree from University of Rhode. His concentrations included drawing, printmaking, digital art and design. Working in many media ranging from lithography to oil and acrylic paints, he has focused attention over recent years on creating layered, stippled images on Dura Lar, a transparent surface associated with animation. His unusual choice of media combined with his deep interest in mythological and anthropological topics has brought him increasing critical attention including a 2016 one-person exhibition at the Newport Museum of Art. Suzanne Volmer, in a review the Newport show, wrote that “ at times the style hit on a sensibility reminiscent of Paul Klee’s small watercolors [and] sometimes his African and Asiatic subject matter switches into the visual realm of fetishistic talisman.”

This presentation is partly supported by the Mayor’s Office of Arts and Culture/Boston Arts Lottery

 

Catalogue

1. ANCIENT SUMER, 2011

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

2. ANCIENT ASSYRIA, 2011

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

3. ANCIENT BABYLON, 2011

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

4. ANCIENT EGYPT, 2012

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

5. ANCIENT MAYA, 2012

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

6. ANCIENT GREECE, 2012

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

7. DOGON TRIBE, 2013

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

8. YORUBA TRIBE, 2013

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

9. NORSE MYTHOLOGY I, 2013

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

10. NORSE MYTHOLOGY II, 2013

Oil on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

11. THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH IN

THOSE DAYS, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

12. REVELATION 12, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

13. THE LEGEND OF PAN GU, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

14. CANAANITE MYTHOLOGY / UGARITIC

MYTH, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

15. THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH IN

THOSE DAYS II , 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

16. THE PHOENICIANS, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

17. THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH IN

THOSE DAYS (AFRICA), 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

18. THERE WERE GIANTS IN THE EARTH IN

THOSE DAYS (ASIA), 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

19. LOST RACES: NORTH AMERICA I, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

20. LOST RACES: NORTH AMERICA II, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

21. LOST RACES: NORTH AMERICA III, 2015

Oil & Acrylic on Dura Lar, 27 x 21”

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