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© Paul Anthony Smith. Image courtesy Zieher Smith & Horton, New York.


Artist: Paul Anthony Smith (Born in St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica, 1988)
Culture: Jamaican
Date: 2014
Medium: Unique picotage on inkjet print
40 × 50 inches (101.6 × 127 cm)
Classification: Photograph
Credit Line: Museum purchase
Label Text:Paul Anthony Smith creates art from original photographs using an eighteenth-century French technique known as picotage. This method requires a ceramic needle tool to pick and remove the top layer of an image, embellishing the surface and making it shimmer as it catches the light. Smith uses this technique with particular emphasis on the faces of photographed figures, creating a mask-like covering that obscures the identities of his subjects who are often overlooked members of society.

In Choppy, Smith captures a working-class male sitting on a bench in an unbuttoned shirt and boots. The picotage technique, used for the man’s face, body, boots, and surrounding vegetation, adds a layer of anonymity and transforms the man into an almost other-worldly being. Often referencing specific African masking traditions and patterns, Smith investigates the social history of his dual cultural upbringing in Jamaica and the United States, while also pushing the boundaries of photography as a realist medium.

Provenance: Purchased from Zieher Smith & Horton, New York (2014). Zieher Smith & Horton acquired the work directly from the artist.
Object number: 2014.26.1