This publication accompanies a major solo exhibition by British painter Anj Smith (b. 1978, Kent). It focuses on new and recent works, many of which can be seen for the first time in Walsall.
Rich in detail, colour and texture, her work is rigorous in its deconstruction of the world around us. Elements of autobiography filter through the layers, creating multiple, fragmented and complex narratives. A Willow Grows Aslant the Brook refers to a line in Shakespeare’s Hamlet.
“Ophelia in the text is much more nuanced than the familiar caricature of mental deterioration or clichéd hysterical femininity”, Smith has stated. “It’s as though disrupting linguistic convention, Ophelia bends and repurposes language in order to assert her agency, subverting codes designed to silence. After all, it’s all she has.”
Smith’s intricacy acts as a visual chicane, an invitation to slow down and consider, offering respite from a frenetic consumption of visual information.
Published on the occasion of the exhibition, Anj Smith: A Willow Grows Aslant the Brook at The New Art Gallery Walsall, 18 May – 5 September 2021.