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Carmen Smith is originally from St. Augustine, but moved to Miami in 2008 after studying fine arts and design at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, from where she received her BFA. While in school, she was awarded the Academic and Creative Excellence Award and became interested in the psychological effects of architecture and design. She is currently an Associate Artist at the Bakehouse Art Complex in Miami. Smith is best known for her intensely colorful paintings of simplified urban architectural scenes around the greater Miami area. Characteristic of her work is emphasis on light and shadow on colorful forms in the city, sometimes appearing almost abstract but never fully abandoning representation. Central to her practice is the belief that structures, like the figure in art, have emotive and intellectual influence. Minimally executed, her paintings offer a departure from the cluttered, ever-evolving urban landscape of the greater Miami area. Instead, her paintings capture moments and fragments from the urban landscape that are often observed passively. Her use of familiar settings, designed in a way that invites the viewer to become part of the scene, suggests how a place becomes part of an experience. An exaggeratedly bright, almost neon, color palette suggests how we remember or experience places within an emotional context. The result is a more nuanced consideration of how place affects experience, memory, and identity.

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Carmen Smith

Birdbath, 2016

Acrylic on canvas