Travess Smalley uses both high and low tech means to move drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture into and out of the digital realm. Complicating distinctions between action and object, the artist scans, Photoshops, and photocopies, often within the one work. He is vitally interested in how code and systems can construct, transfer, and disrupt images.
Smalley often uses the scanner as a portal between the analog and digital worlds. He will draw with pencil on paper, scan the drawing into Photoshop and work on it, and then make a print that traces the processes that the image has undergone. Other images are generated purely within the computer using algorithms about color and form. Combining chance and gesture, this process can generate thousands of images: some are printed in artist books; others are printed on aluminum or vinyl.
Though he uses many varied production processes, Smalley always strikes a balance between process and output, between strategy and experimentation. His works share a visual immediacy that is compelling in its use of color and form. Whether abstract or figurative, they vividly incorporate many histories of mark-making and reproduction within their own distinctive vocabulary.
“In my studio, I spend a lot of time making drawings, ink brush paintings, acrylic paintings on foam, and small sculptures made of quick-drying plaster and foam. These works are never pre-planned and the results are mostly cannibalized for new pieces or scanned into the computer to be worked on in Photoshop…I try to use software to reflect my thoughts on things like diaristic gesture, chance, transference, image reproduction, automatic language, and automatic drawing, micro and macro perspectives of scale, productivity, and laziness.” Travess Smalley, 2016
Travess Smalley (Huntington, WV, 1986) lives and works in Providence, RI. He holds a BFA from The Cooper Union, New York, NY, and an MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, RI.
Selected Exhibitions include: “Travess Smalley,” Foxy Production (solo)(forthcoming 2023); “Des champs de fraises pour l’éternité,” La Galerie, centre d’art contemporain de Noisy-le-Sec, Noisy-le-Sec, France (2022); “Minecraft Language Edition,” Ender Gallery in collaboration with MacKenzie Art Gallery, Regina, SK, Canada (solo); “Pixel Rugs,” Arcade On Stadium, Provo, UT (solo)(both 2021); “Downtown Painting,” Peter Freeman Inc., New York, NY (2019); and “Standing Still, Lying Down, As If,” Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, Detroit, MI (2018-2019); “What is a Photograph?,” International Center of Photography, New York; and “Public Interfacial Gesture Salon,” Bard Center for Curatorial Studies, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY (2011).
|The Pencil Show||2010||Gallery|
- Halter, Ed. "Circuits, microchips, robotics: thirteen new works by the artist created with the assistance of digital technology.” 4 Columns. 28 Apr. 2023. Web.
- Provencher, John and Travess Smalley. "Conversations: John Provencher & Travess Smalley: Moderated by Lauren Studebaker / Outland.” Outland 12 Apr. 2022. Web.
- Heinrich, Will. "Galleries: Travess Smalley." The New York Times. 15 Dec. 2017: C22.
- Soulellis, Paul. "Artist Profile: Travess Smalley." Rhizome. 15 July 2016. Web.
- Landes, Jennifer. "Digital Beginnings." The East Hampton Star. 25 June 2015. Web.
- Knoblauch, Loring. "Travess Smalley @Foxy Production." Collector Daily. 21 May 2015. Web.
- Abeles, Michele, et al. “Recording Images: A Round-Table Interview Curated by Lauren Cornell with Michele Abeles, Sara Cwynar, Jon Rafman & Travess Smalley.” Mousse. 43. Apr. 2014: 238-252.
- Jovanovic, Rozalia. 'Emerging: Travess Smalley’s Collages Surf a Digital “Feedback Loop”.’ Artinfo. 05 June 2013. Web.
- O’Kane, Paul. “Travess Smalley.” Symbol: Paper for New Art. Mar. 2013: 24-35 .
- Moss, Ceci. "Travess Smalley, Rendered Aura." Gloria Maria Gallery. 18 Nov - 6 Jan 2012.
- Peckham, Robin. "Travess Smalley: Physical Medium, Digital Tradition.” Digicult. Nov. 2012. Web.
- Ho, Yin. "The Scanner at Saamlung." Rhizome. 3 April 2012. Web.
- Smith, Roberta. "Abstract Abstract." The New York Times. 2 Oct. 2009: C30.
- McHugh, Gene. "Post Internet: Notes on the Internet and Art 12.29.09>09.05.10.” 122909a. 8 Feb. 2009. Web.