The World of Wonder Storefront Gallery reopens on April 25 with the group show “depARTed,” with works themed to celebrities who “inspired before they expired.” The show’s curator, actor Daniel Franzese, introduces you to Corey Smith, one of the contributors:
One of my favorite, inspired, and inspiring artists out there is Marc Ecko. I love his Cut and Sew line of menswear. I have a subscription to his magazine Complex, a buyer’s guide for men. I thought it was fate that the day I got the OK from Randy Barbato and Fenton Bailey to bring my “depARTed” idea to life, I opened the latest issue of Complex and found an article on Corey Smith.
“I grew up poor, so I have always been interested in how the elite live. Paris is the poster child for the ‘post-talent’ generation, and I’ve been painting her for years, even before she was a media darling. She’s famous for being herself; girls usually get pissed that I paint her.”
Like his 2006 Paris Hilton series, Smith’s paintings grab your attention quickly and make you say, “Oh, how funny… No. How fucked up! But, man, that’s beautiful” – roller coasters of emotion and waves of giggles with the ability to look beautifully hung anywhere. Kinda like me. Who could ask more of art?
Corey Smith is a Los Angele painter and photographer originally from Portland, Oregon. His work has appeared in everything from Vice to Elle. Smith’s high-gloss, ultra-flat paintings capture the joys of plasticity and pre-fab environments, celebrity as the ultimate blank canvas, and the absurd hyperboles of leisure. But rather than repackage the manufactured world into an aestheticized form – a la post-Warholian Pop – Smith favors a post-Pop approach that brings into Day-glo focus the dark vision at the corner of the spectator’s eye. The subject of the paintings then becomes the tension between the works’ fatalistic undercurrents and the celebratory aura created by Smith’s use of bold color and bright-lined contour. The result is a Death Valley realism, colored by both sunny Californian optimism and premonitions of death. This makes him a perfect candidate to contribute to”depARTed.” Smith takes on one of the big guns of deceased inspirational celebs, Marilyn Monroe. His take on Monroe is jawdroppingly beautiful, one of my favorite pieces we’ve in a Storefront Gallery show.
– Daniel Franzese