The last time you opened the hood of your car I bet you weren’t thinking about what a great painting the engine would make, or how the radiator created an interesting texture. You were probably being sensible and routinely checking the fluids before you hit the road. Right? Not so for Artist Kimberly Smith. In her eyes, the innards of cars and parts of motorcycles are something to celebrate in paint. She sees exciting compositions in the close-up shapes of bright chrome, steel and their campy reflections. An air filter makes a circle, and knobs, bolts or pipes create angles leading into the unknown. Suddenly, an engine is not just an engine. With that said, for her choice of car and motorcycle specimens, Ms. Smith has rarefied taste. She enjoys painting classics, like those of Harleys or the Shelby car, for example. In fact, she has been inspired by Photographer Guy Webster’s cars and motorcycles, and has been painting select vintage engines from his collection.
It has been said that artists find beauty in everything, and that their works help others to see beauty in places where it is least expected. Wayne Thiebaud helped us to do this in his paintings of cakes and candy in the 1960s. Through his fresh compositions of powerfully rendered mundane objects with layered color, viewers discovered new worlds of beauty. Similarly, Kimberly Smith paints ordinary vehicle parts, things that most people think of as ugly or gross, in a realistic, yet painterly and compelling fashion. In this process, she re-defines and transforms our perception of vehicular engines and parts. She brings us to a new intimate place with moving machines, pointing out their beauty and celebrating the romance of the open road at the same time, and her well-composed paintings are surprisingly spectacular.
Art lovers and gear-heads alike will enjoy Kimberly Smith’s Catch Me If You Can, Recent Works at Gallery 525 May 19 to June 18. All are invited to the Opening Reception on May 21 from 5 to 8pm at Gallery 525, 525 W. El Roblar Drive (next to Papa Lennon’s in Meiners Oaks), Ojai, CA 93023
- Kelly Luscombe Bea