Lucien Smith | OPENING TONIGHT | Incidentals | 235 East 4th St | 6 - 8 pm

“Incidentals” now brings together highlights of the last decade. Collectively, the survey show reveals overlaps in Lucien's artistic practice.


Incidentals: A Brief Survey 2011-2021

Opening: Thursday, October 14th, 6-8 PM
October 14th - November 10th, 2021

Lucien Smith made his public debut in May of 2011 with a two-person thesis show, “Imagined Nostalgia,” at 41 Cooper Union. The student exhibition was about longing for a history that wasn’t your own, tracking this collective American impulse towards the sentimental or as The New York Times described it “how our imaginations create false memories of what actually happened in the past. At the centerpiece of the show was a gargantuan painting of the iconic tree from Winnie the Pooh.

A year later Lucien found himself living in a barn upstate sublet from the writer/director James Ivory. It was here that he began making his “rain paintings,” acrylic two-tones and monochrome abstracts he created spraying paint out of an old-fashioned fire extinguisher. This series became the poster child for a school of art known as zombie formalism, process-based abstraction with a slacker twist. Later in 2012, Lucien held his first NYC solo show, “Good Vibrations,” at the original half gallery space on the Lower East Side. That exhibition opened literally one hour after New York City regained power from a three-day blackout brought on by Hurricane Sandy. The wall works in this show were modified electric guitar bodies: painted, burned, foiled, stickered, one adorned with bottle caps and glitter, another with a Hawaiian lei.

A flurry of new series and short films ensued. Lucien collaborated on a cinematic love-letter to Manhattan called, “A Clean Sweep” with Glenn O’Brien which corresponded with a set of tumbleweed paintings in the old Jeffrey Deitch space on Grand Street. Meanwhile uptown, Lucien presented eleven camoflague paintings at Skarstedt Gallery in an exhibition entitled, “Tigris” (because to him the camo dispersion read like rivers tributaries). All the while he embarked on other bodies of work: pie paintings, scrap metals sculptures, arc paintings and seed packet watercolors, a nod to memento mori where gardening seeds were origami-ed into drawings of their commercial packaging.

“Incidentals” now brings together highlights of the last decade. Collectively, the survey show reveals overlaps in Lucien's artistic practice, how patterns and influences and happenstance gel into something uniquely his own. It’s in the aggregate we find where the artist resides.

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Image: Lucien Smith, Hobbes, The Rain Man, and My Friend Barney / Under the Sycamore Tree, 122” x 91”, Oil on canvas, 2011