A Portrait of the Artist
This is a new body of work takes influence from the James Joyce novel of the same title, drawing heavily
from the artist’s social, familial and religious upbringing to explore the formation and development of a
personal identity in the tradition of the ‘Bildungsroman’.
In this body of work Smyth recognises that his histories and social-realities have created and shaped
their identity. To reflect this the artist draws reference form personal photography, films, classical art and
social documentation. These images are fragmented and collaged together to build a complex narrative of
interlinked imagery.As in the novel, these works hold a dichotomy between the ‘Artist’ and the ‘Young Man’,
visually contrasting a focus on ‘style and texture’ with a more acute focus on ‘the refraction of experience’.
This contrast is accentuated with the use of repeated colour and several distinct illustrative styles.
Elements of repeated imagery also provide thematic unity throughout the work, signifying rupture, change
This blending of the private, public, religious and political spheres is intended to build an equivocal
composition that can be explored through various different perspectives. The layering and distortion of
images produces new and divergent narratives and reflections for the audience exploring themes such as
‘the domestic’ ‘the trinity’, gender and death, touching upon the reality of experience in both a personal and
© Aaron Smyth. All Rights Reserved.