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Alan Smith’s naked display of emotions

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When Alan C Smith says he feels naked at his first solo art show, he means it. He has used his nude self as the subject for several of the works in his show Sky Gazer on now at Masterworks Museum at the Botanical Gardens in Paget.

Sky Gazer is a collection of nude portraits and digital media.

“The show is called Sky Gazer because I am using nudes to break up the sky,” he said. “I think that our skyline is quite distinctive and beautiful. Some of the inspiration for the different pieces was fantastical such as superheroes. They are all nude. As I was going along (in the creative process) I started to deconstruct some of the images, but some of them are straight on full frontal nudity.”

He said he might have felt nervous about it, at first, but ultimately, he believes that honesty is crucial when it comes to art.

Mr Smith first gained notoriety in the community for his poetry. His work has appeared in many publications including In Our Own Words: A Generation Defining Itself, Caribbean Writer, and Poems United: A Commonwealth Anthology, among others. He entered the visual art scene in 2001 when he took part in a Bermuda Arts Centre in Dockyard show called Wavelengths that combined art and writing.

“I wanted to do my own posters,” he said. “I wasn't trying to become a visual artist. I did a couple of pieces myself, with my own poetry and visual work, and sold one, and kept going.”

His art work has appeared in every Bermuda National Gallery Biennial since 2006 including the current one about to open. Last year, he won a $2,500 prize during the Charman art show at Masterworks.

Many of Mr Smith's visual pieces also have a poetry component. For the opening of his solo show at Masterworks, he invited three local poets to read poetry: Jane Downing, Kim Dismont Robinson and Yesha Townsend.

“Sometimes, I put the poetry right on the picture,” he said. “I wouldn't necessarily say this show is a combination, but, usually, when I am doing a series of visual pieces, I am also writing poetry.”

He has taken some drawing classes with local artist Emma Ingham, and some photography classes at the Bermuda National Gallery, but is otherwise completely self-taught as a visual artist.

“Visuals have always been a part of what I do,” he said. “When I started, I did feel like a fraud, because I wasn't trained. But that's the way I felt when I started writing poetry. I was teaching myself, then doing workshops to augment what I had taught myself.”

He said his work can be classed as contemporary art.

“I don't even know if I could call myself a fine artist because some people would question my skill set,” he said. “I obviously, innately, know something about composition. I have a strong sense of knowing what I want to say. I feel like I know when the work is finished. When I don't, I have friends who tell me when it is finished. I think I am actually too subtle and have a tendency to stop too soon.”

Sky Gazer will be on at Masterworks until Wednesday. For more information see www.Bermudamasterworks.com.

Alan Smith's first solo show at Masterworks is a combination of nude portraits and digital media. Superheroes were the inspiration for some of the pieces. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Alan Smith sits with artwork at Masterworks in his first solo show, Sky Gazer. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Alan Smith uses nudes to interrupt the skyscape in his new solo show Sky Gazer. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Work by Alan Smith, on now at Masterworks. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead) (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)
Alan Smith combined poetry and visual art in an exhibition that is now being shown at Masterworks. The pieces are a combination of nude portraits and digital media. (Photo by Nicola Muirhead)

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Published June 09, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated June 08, 2014 at 7:08 pm)

Alan Smith’s naked display of emotions

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