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David Alexander Smith's Paintings and Drawings

Calling Up The Past

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Calling Up The Past 2004
callingupthepastsmall.jpg.jpg
Pen on paper 21x29cm

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About the Picture

In the image we are witness to a sťance. Three figures huddle around a darkened table; each has a phantom from the past to disclose. The interaction of the figures behind each display the conflict endured by each in attempting their individual atonements. The schoolboy to the left of the table has bagged a dove in his sack, but the bird is struggling to fly away: you can't hold onto the past. Behind him stand his parents each dressed as a bird. His father is balancing a magnet and a conch shell on his head. The mother winks at the white shadow of the boy's infanthood. Arching over this passage is a dark shadow with a carrot nose and a swallowed olive branch. At the head of the table sits a nervous old man. He has stuck four candles on his head to illuminate his worries. They reveal a group of dissipating ghosts lorded over by a scarred visitation. Standing next to them is a foolish mask: a lifetime of disguises. Everything for him points to a distant all-seeing eye. The final figure, a young man to the right of the picture, has turned his critique away from the old man; his breath will not blow out his candles. Instead it chills the bottom of a frightened giant. The giant's crown vanishes replaced by a cartoon rendition of power. In a state of stress he holds an untied ring of rope. Fear has literally caused him to lay an egg. A dustbin sits provocatively in the foreground.

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