Jean Smith

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“Pussy Riot” series by Jean Smith, 2012

“Discovering Utopia #3″ (acrylic on canvas 12″ X 16”) by Jean Smith, 2010

The woman in the foreground is Christina from the famous Andrew Wyeth painting “Christina’s World”. I grew up with a reproduction of this painting in a coffee table book about Wyeth. As an adult, when I saw his paintings in museums, I was struck by how much looser his work was than I’d imagined, based on reproductions. In the Wyeth painting, Christina appeared to me to be a young woman, but I recently discovered she was fifty-five at the time Wyeth painted her and that she was paralyzed from the waist down. She dragged herself across those fields — that landscape was her world. I included her in “Discovering Utopia” to represent things that appear to be unattainable and unrealistic — the essence of utopia, a state of being where things work better and people are happier. In my painting, utopia has been discovered in much the same way that Columbus “discovered” America. The question is — how will those in the helicopters proceed? Will they destroy utopia? Take over, contribute to it or respectfully leave it alone? As I continue with the series, it appears to me that Christina might be on the other side of the land mass in my series “Things Coming in From the Right”.

“Things coming in from the Right” series, 2010