Drawing from the traditions of 19th century Realism and its direct observation of the modern world, DIS/CONNECTED translates our obsessive behaviours with mobile phones into the analogue medium of paint. With our devices becoming increasingly advanced at keeping us engaged for longer periods of time, through their use of colours, sounds and vibrations, it can feel impossible to put them down. And yet, their infiltration into every part of our lives often goes unnoticed and unaddressed. These paintings provide an alternative mode of interacting with the world, proffering an opportunity to slow down, pause and reflect on our lived experiences with mobile technology and its insidious influence on contemporary life.
DIS/CONNECTED depicts mundane scenarios with intense colour, bold gestural marks and extraordinary scale. There’s an uneasiness in these scenes and their extreme close ups. Inspired by Gustave Courbet’s painting, The Desperate Man, I highlight the eyes as a location of anguish and attachment. By bringing all of these elements together, I hope to distract you from your phone and move you into your body.
Adrian Charles Smith is an emerging artist based in Meanjin/Brisbane. He uses painting to explore the complexities of human behaviour and our relationship with technology, frequently looking at ideas around the banal and mundane of everyday life. Shifting his focus to colour, form and mark making, his work blurs the boundaries between abstraction and representation, forcing the viewer to engage with the work longer. Smith studied a Bachelor of Fine Arts at the Queensland College of Art and has previously been a finalist in the Brisbane Portrait Prize, Brett Whiteley Travelling Art Scholarship and the Clayton Utz Art Award.
Image: Adrian Charles Smith / Scrolling endlessly on Reddit 2022 / acrylic and flashe on polycotton / 160cm x 200cm/ © Adrian Charles Smith