In the Studio #15

I’ve been incredibly busy in the studio lately producing in the last month 5 pretty intensely dense drawings which I am for the most part really happy with. Now that I am in a groove with the series I can begin to take stock in what I am doing with this drawing series and evaluate some advice given to me about the pieces. About a week ago my boyfriend challenged me on the name of this series of drawings. I call it “Behold, The Loathsome Temple of Doom”. Its a reference to a fearsome looking masonic temple in Allentown, Pa. He feels that the name is juvenile and a turn off. Normally I would just think his comments were asinine and ignore them with a quip like “your not an artists, so what the fuck do you know about naming work”. He’s a lovely man for the most part however that’s my default whenever he’s brave enough to venture into commenting about my art. In this case though I began to think about my titles a little. While I will still keep the name “Temple of Doom” for this body of work (and will likely continue naming work with outrageous and perhaps pretentious titles in the future) I started wondering last week where I got into this practice in the first place, and I think I remember when it all started.

Back in 2001 I went to see a show by one of my favorite artists, Cy Twombly at Gagosian Gallery at their old Madison Ave location. The show I saw was of his monumental and beautiful paintings he called “Coronation of Sesostris”. Its a Egyptian reference to the suns journey across the sky. These works are truly magical in their huge scale and seemingly effortless gestural quality. Although they are abstract pieces one truly feels the act of journeying in them, which is helped in no small part by their clever title. I never forgot the lesson learned from that show of the power of a title to guide a viewers experience with a work. Here’s a New York Times review of the show. Here are some images of the series:

lepanto_6 of 12 lepanto 12 of 12 lepanto 10 of 12 lepanto 1 of 12

Above are for panels from Cy Twombly’s “Coronation of Sesostris”  series. Panels 1, 6, 10 and 12


Besides being bold beautiful and truly heroic in scale and composition, Twombly named his works for what inspired him. Wanting to follow my towering inspiration I began doing the same. Over the years I’ve giving some pretty wacky names to work. “Corrupting the Kingdom of Power“, “Who is Prester John” “The Contrition Set” even small works series like “What Happens to Winter Flowers” and “Winter in New Haven“. All these titles are meant to reflect the emotional impetus that lead me to create the work. Maybe from time to time they get a bit highfalutin but then again that’s in keeping with my personality.

Changing gears a little, I just learned that I got into the Vermont Studio Center for a month long arts residency in the spring of next year. While I’m very excited about the opportunity, the cost of the program has really given me some pause because I would really have to hustle to raise the money it takes to go. While that is a significant impediment for me going, I’m also scared to go because I’m just a fearful person and doing something like this would take me out of my comfort zone. I think I’ve made my decision and will use my last week or so before I have to tell VSC to make an action plan to make sure I can attend. Speaking my fears out like this helps me to commit to decisions and ease my fears so hopefully it’ll work and in 8 months I’ll be blogging from Vermont.

Here are some process shots of Temple of Doom 6, also with the finished TOD 4 and 5. Until next time…

IMG_0004 IMG_0005 IMG_0006 IMG_1443 IMG_1445 IMG_1449 IMG_1450 IMG_1451

These eight shots are process slides for Temple of Doom 6

Anthony Smith Jr, Behold The Loathsome Temple of Doom 4, 40 x 43 inches, sharpie pen, 2015 Anthony Smith Jr, Behold The Loathsome Temple of Doom 5, 40 x 43 inches, sharpie pen, 2015

These two images are of Temple of Doom 4 and 5 respectively

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