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Alexia Smith

ARTISTS curator desiginer

The starting point for this series of works was an interest in depicting voyeurism. This is one of the most foundational concepts in film studies but I wanted to see what would happen when I explored it through painting. I began selecting stills scenes of women under surveillance from mundane crime tv shows as subjects for my paintings. I was influenced by Mandy Patinkin’s comments on his reason for leaving the cast of Criminal Minds. He questioned why the show’s plot formula tortured and killed women on a routine weekly basis. The same observation about repetition and banal violence would seemingly apply to a vast range of crime tv.

My aim was to see what my painting process would reveal about this genre and the social pre-occupations which drive its popularity. The actual TV storylines in which these images are entrenched sometimes offer surprising inflections and reversals of the gaze which are not obvious from a still frame but I am less interested in how these TV images fit within their text of origin than in how they function as part of a mass of repetitions.

Voyeurism is looking at a remove from the object. It is about both intimacy and distance. In the process of painting I enjoyed playing with the pull between the desire to look into a scene and barriers to vision which block and obscure the human figure.

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