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David Alexander Smith's Paintings and Drawings


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Hillside 2000
Pen on Paper 21x29cm

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About the Picture

Hillside is best understood when looked at as an earlier, more obtuse variant of the issues raised in Moonlight. It is harder to find a way into the image, and hence the major reason for revisiting the dialectic between death and lust in the later work. The main difference from Moonlight is found in the lack of choice open to the subject; only one path leads through the landscape, disclosed by a set of arrows (pessimistic determinism is the order of the day). The figure in the left foreground stands confused, a dark problem evaporating in shadow form from their knee-knocking stance. A strange face appears as a spirit, or portrait in the landscape: old man time or Janus. Below this omnipotent entity, a ring of figures organise themselves. They symbolically present the issues of concern to the fearful subject. A clown flaps his hands like wings; a man has disguised himself as a bird; a shepherd dances through his sadness; the soldier provocatively rubs his belly at the trapped fool; taking giant steps, the life blood is squeezed from a hidden object. Up on the hillside, three mourners look over a grave, as their problem disappear with death beyond the reach of a distant pylon.

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