miró, joy and claude smith


Claude Smith: Golden Joy series

Golden Joy Series

The following is extracted from email correspondence with Claude Smith and used with permission.  I like the way it follows on from my last post about Joan Miró.

I’ve been thinking about joy a lot this year … and particularly the joy of painting, and the function of painting in today’s world.

Painting has mostly been reduced to decoration or design.  Even when it’s sophisticated decoration or design it doesn’t take you very far.  In the history of art, particularly in Western art, where do we find examples of joyful painting?  Particularly in the last 50-100 years?  (I’m not talking about whimsical, or jokey painting … I mean full-on expressions of joy).  Which artists have managed to create what clearly reads as joyful painting?

My most profound experience of encountering paintings that exude joy came at the Pompidou Center in Paris about 20 years ago.  I stepped into the Miró Room and found myself spontaneously dancing and jumping for joy (really!), being surrounded by the buoyant spirit that came through his work.  This is the power of art!  And how rare!

When it comes to painting these days, there is a need to transcend the cynical and ironic, the sentimental and representational, and especially the commodification of art.

That’s where I’m headed.  To embody joy and somehow convey it through painting.

– Claude Smith


claude smith at the artisans’ gallery

ineffable: joy