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Dinah Maxwell Smith

Dinah Maxwell Smith

49083 ca object representations media 10789 publiclarge
Dinah Maxwell Smith

Roles in Archive: Artist

Location: 188 Bowery Time on the Bowery: 1969 -1974

“Painting and photography are an integral part of my work. My use of black/white photography is not incidental, it is crucial to my work conceptually. More than a reference or visual aid, it is irrevocably interwoven with my painting on every level.

I love painting and I love photography. I’ve worked with the irregularities of snap-shots (over/under exposed, badly composed etc.) for years. That is the very quality that appeals to me about amateur, “found” photography: Innocence. Accident. Often a bumbling portrayal with a lovely hint of humanity’s mistakes and soft spots.

Not all photographs make good paintings and vice versa. I love the visceral quality of oil painting, but I also like the intellectual probing into deep black, ill-defined depths or indecipherable blanched-out areas of old photographs where I have to unravel the mystery and translate it to the painting.

I’ve always worked from black/white photographs, allowing the color to come from the interstices of my brain. I sometimes feel as though I’m painting the air, the temperature. I try to make the viewer feel as though they’re there.”