Gallery MUJO

New Paintings

(transcending cynicism and irony)

February 4-29, 2012
Opening Reception:
February 18, 5-8pm

Gallery MUJO
548 South Spring Street (Unit 113)
Los Angeles, Ca. 90014

(located on 6th Street
between Spring St. and Main St.)

Telephone: (909) 573-3627
(please call for hours or viewing appointment)

Noboru Mishima, director of Gallery MUJO, is proud to present the work of Claude Smith, in his first one-man show in Los Angeles.

Claude Smith exhibits his latest series of paintings, INEFFABLE: JOY.
The paintings are visceral, energetic and joyful explorations of color, rhythm and form that have their roots in Zen calligraphy and abstract expressionism. In this series, Smith rejects cynicism, irony and social commentary, finding purpose in painting as a means to ineffable joy that can be clearly communicated, instead. Smith was discovered by Gallery MUJO director, Noboru Mishima, whose Buddhist orientation toward life and art resonated with Smith's latest series.

Smith, a native New Yorker, has been committed to the process of painting for nearly fifty years.  Art, and painting in particular, has been  a means of examining life, and his place in the world.  On what Smith calls his “path of obscurity,” he has chosen to explore the boundaries of life and death, form and emptiness, and impermanence. His primary influences are Taoist philosophy, the natural world, Zen calligraphy, jazz, and the music of 20th century composers like Toru Takemitsu, and John Cage.

Smith’s current body of work emerged  out of his dialogues with musician and writer, Richard Osborn. Smith was questioning the function of painting in today’s world,  positing that photography, film, video, and audio were far more potent mediums for story telling, and for making social and political statements…..leaving painting to do, what?  That discussion led Smith to examine the concept of “Joy”, which seems to be well represented in the realms of music, dance, theater, literature, and film,  but conspicuously absent in the history of painting. “ Why is that? Is it too difficult to access and find a means to express “Joy”? Is it socially unacceptable ? Not hip enough? Not cynical or hard-edge enough for today’s culture?, Smith wondered.