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Brian SMYTH was born in Cork, Ireland. Going on to study in his birthplace, SMYTH received his degree in painting. In the year 2000, SMYTH made his debut in Dublin after exhibiting locally in his native Cork, establishing himself as an international artist and showing in New York, Chicago, London, and Zurich. Today SMYTH continues to live and paint in Ireland, astounding the art world with his ability to capture the complexities of human emotion on canvas.
Drawing influences from the Old Masters, such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Velazquez, SMYTH brings new meaning to the portrait, capturing the complexities of the mind and the ephemeral moments of insightful truth we experience in silence during the course of everyday life. As we study the faces and body language of the characters in SMYTH’S paintings, we are no longer spectators, entering the painting with empathy and understanding. Like ourselves, the figures in SMYTH’S paintings are not merely one-dimensional, but contain many facets, making them individuals we identify with and understand. An array of emotion can be felt in response to SMYTH’S work, ranging from compassion to bewilderment as one connects with or struggles to comprehend the disposition of each character. SMYTH’S ability to portray the most private of emotions makes one feel as if one is viewing an intimate occurrence in even the most public of places.
Despite what may initially appear to be reticent faces, SMYTH manages to convey the private feelings one internalizes and the pensive moments thought to be undetected by the observer, creating an entire narrative with the nuances of his brushstrokes. Using vertical and horizontal planes to divide the background, SMYTH creates a palpable tension in the visual dialogue of his work. One becomes aware of a separation between psyches as a thick jutting vertical plane indicates there is conflict present. SMYTH’S choice of colors, deep crimsons and umbers, along with the attire of the characters, all suggest a different period.
Upon studying the nostalgic glimpses of this era past, it is easy to romanticize an antiquated age and daydream what was or what might have been. In Irish fashion, SMYTH illustrates a tale for those with a discerning eye to observe. Depending on how the viewer chooses to perceive the painting, SMYTH enables any onlooker of his work to delve into their own imagination and ponder the possibilities in the canvas, utilizing the limitlessness of perception.
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