Edwin Smalling

Region: MFA Annual

I make slow, seductive painting with archaeological depths. Conversant in the language of color, form, line, and space, they are transparently layered amalgams of reference and meaning. My goal is to keep painting relevant, not simply as an idle tool of capital, the most convenient of value containers, but as an affective vehicle of transformational experience. My paintings are rooted in an American vernacular, harnessing iconography distilled from the language of popular culture, intensely aware of our universally networked and integrally dependent contemporary experience and critical of the ways in which American cultural hegemony asserts and extends global ideological dominance. I am interested in the way branding imagery, designed to iterate belief in an ever-improving tomorrow, is made a tool of ideological oppression. I believe that optimism and aspiration, now primarily tools of economic control, can be reclaimed, and that a recurrent spirit of hope can be made manifest materially in an art that is powerful, affective, and discursively eloquent.