visual artist/curator





Blogs: patricia wilson smith

August 2015
Work has at last begun on the Wenlock Road mural. Gary Drostle and his assistant began gridding up on Aug 3rd, and I set up a new blog on WordPress which you can access here to follow the progress. Look out for pix on Instagram too (patwilsonsmith)

July 2015 Having worked flat out for the past weeks, to get work ready for an art fair and two exibitions, I'm ready to take a break. But not yet! Still waiting to install the mural for Wenlock Road, which should begin very soon!
I'm thinking about work for an exhibition in November/December - the theme is children of conflict. It will be a group show, and all the other artists are engaged and working on their pieces. I'm considering my personal response - it's a very emotional and disturbing subject and I don't feel I want to be anything but very restrained.

April 2015 Brook and I set up in the little Gallery next to the Pie factory in Margate, and wondered how things would develop. We made work: Brook had already made a self-portrait head, and began work on a portrait of herself as a young artist. I had collected Selfies daily, and written the draft of a condensed tongue in cheek 'memoir', illustrated with prints. (Preview 'Why I Never Made it as an Artist' here)

During the three week period we made 'things' but our most important product was the process itself - the conversations with visitors and each other, about Self, Identity, Self-image, Sexuality, Feminism and Art, and so on... We documented these in video. (see for a taster) We concluded that our take on 'socally-engaged practice' (which often comes over as rather tired and 'worthy') was both valuable and empowering for artists and visitors equally. We still have conversations to finish, and editing to complete.

Wed 28 January 2015 Before I begin 'Who Do I Think I Am?' some thoughts about Self and portraying oneself -

I took down my paintings from the SOIL exhibition yesterday, crammed them into my car, and wondered what I would be painting in 6 months' time. It's like that, at this time of year, when the cold and rain/snow/wind force us indoors, away from the natural light. I want to paint, but the last three paintings tell me that I need now to be more in control of my creative process.

Meanwhile I turn my thoughts to a collaborative project I've been invited join.. Self portraiture! How do sculptors make self-portraits? That is the problem that faces my friend Brook Hobbins. I think about Self itself, and how that is interpreted and expressed in two dimensions. Is painting or photography any easier, for being 2-dimensional? What is 'self'? What is 'a likeness', how do we achieve 'verisimilitude'? Or perhaps we don't feel that's important... When I was in my twenties I painted several self-portraits; the fact that I was painting a mirror-image never gave me pause for thought. Now there is so much more to consider.

So I begin by scanning a handful of faded negatives I'd been given by my mum some long time ago. So little of my childhood memory is available to me that these negatives are very precious clues to a lost life.There I am, aged maybe 12 - 15 months, then four years old, then perhaps seven, and suddenly seventeen. My self as others saw me.

The immediate context to this picture is not available as memory, but as learned information, put together from reliable and unreliable sources.

'The (old, analogue) photograph doesn't lie'... It doesn't say much either.
It can't tell me who took the picture, what time of year it was, where I was, or why I was there. It didn't tell me that I had no father, because he'd been killed in an accident at work just before I was born. That my mother must have been struggling desperately to come to terms with that, and to keep things together for six of us - I had four brothers and sisters. That's the learned context that replaces memory and becomes part of Self. As Barthes observed, an old photograph simply tells us 'that was so', and we have to do all the rest.

One Hundred Years of Industrialised Warfare
In January 2014 I began writing the OHYOIW blog, as a reaction against the plethora of activities and events that would mark the centenary of WW1. Like many others, I wondered why, after the slaughter and madness of the war that was expected to 'end by Christmas', we soon engaged in another world war, and there have been conflicts world-wide ever since.
' Russia is poised to attack the Ukraine, schoolgirls in Nigeria have been kidnapped for slave-trading, Syria is hardly mentioned on television because nothing, it seems can be done to stop the terrible civil war that has destroyed Syria's people and the country itself. Egypt is on the brink of another crisis, and so it goes on.
Must we accept that warfare is an inevitable part of being human?'

A year on and the situation seems worse. Little has changed, except that the Islamic State militants are gaining momentum and power, and the nature of warfare is not only industrial in scale, but digital.
Our networks of communication are now being harnessed to make war via the internet. The Paris killings are a direct challenge to the western world.

Read my OHYOIW blog here

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Selfies-February 2015

Prints from
Why I Never Made It as an Artist