Above Image: Victoria Smith, A detail from Generation Conductor installation featuring Life Magazine images on Foam, TV’s with Painted Screen, Paintings on Wood, Music Conductor Stands, Size Variable. May 2015

A Final Soar Into Orbit

This work is a narrative about an RAF pilot who disappeared, a strong female entity, a void, a legacy and the simple realisation the search may always continue – Smith.

For my solo exhibition at Linenhall Arts Centre in May 2015, A Final Soar Into Orbit, I created an atmospheric installation of photography, film work, paintings and figurative and sci-fi sculptures. The exhibition reflects on the disappearance of an RAF pilot, the legacy over three generations, strong Independent women and an obsession with flight missions to space. The nature of the work is inspired by my great grandfather, the book Astronaut Wives Club by Lily Koppel and Life magazine images taken from this time, my grandfather’s photographs and the re-appropriated fictional TV character Arthur Daley, the wheeler dealer character from the great British criminal underworld. Within this installation I examine this legacy, resulting in a fictional end to the story.

The work featured (above) is the front of a TV screen that has been painted with an image of the astronauts and their wives reuniting after a mission to space. This image, taken from Life Magazine is figurative and has been lit up by the white fuzz of the TV, creating a flickering effect. I wanted this flicking element to create a sense of transmission as if I am searching for my lost great grandfather. In this image the wives and astronauts are united yet the family’s story is unresolved.

I enjoy juxtaposing painting with old TV’s to create a new sculptural form with old technology. The flickering effect acts like a neon sign or radar to attract the viewer to look at the painted image on the TV and in this looking is reminiscent of my search for my great grandfather. My practice is predominately installation based often composed of paintings, photographs, sculpture, text, found objects and film that explore the tendency of art, miscommunication and translation between art forms and concepts.

Words: Victoria Smith

Smith is a visual artist who works at Engage Arts Studios in Galway. She has an MA from NCADs Faculty of Visual Culture, Art in the Contemporary World (2011), Diploma in the History of European Painting, Trinity College, Dublin (2007) MA Arts Administration and Cultural Policy from Goldsmiths College, University of London (2004) and a BA in Fine Art Printmaking and H.Dip from Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork (1999). Smith is the founder of Galway Arts Education Agency in Galway City; the aim of this agency is to look at contemporary art participation via a mobile art school between artists, the community, primary schools and secondary schools by providing the opportunity to work together while also developing CPD for Art teachers, visual artists and online resources.