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David Alexander Smith's Paintings and Drawings


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Playroom 1999
Pen on Paper 21x29cm

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About the Picture

This playroom is a contradiction: a place outside adult concerns, created and maintained by paternal order. The desires and needs of the father speak louder than any infantile song. A vaulted roof mirrors a stripy rug; between these spin two circular foci. The first centres on a skull and manuscript. The boy standing on the chair back, strives to reach up to the next disc, and in the process discards his fears and hopes: to live and learn, and not die. From his head emigrates the happy spirit of his dead cat, transcending beyond the cupboard. His sister rolls on the floor, fallen and animal-like, playing in the place of the cat with a puzzling ball of string. Her book rests face down, unread; a bird-helmet disguise sits unused in the far right of the room. Caught in limbo, the daughter plays out her fantasies: first as a chaste mother nurturing a plant, and then as a woman seduced by her own imagination, grown as a second head from her shoulder. The adolescent prince however reaches up to caress the king's beard. Unawares the monarch holds out the second source: Perseus' shield. His real self, old and wizened creeps towards the door. The exit is blocked by a masterful shadow who really controls the space, supporting the ceiling with one hand.

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