Jayne Anita Smith


Strange figures and faces appear in Jayne Anita Smith’s black and white drawings and paintings. Layered and highly detailed characters drawn from her own memories and experiences, as well as found imagery, populate the flat planes of her works. Emerging ghost-like, wearing period clothing or no clothes at all, these curious semi-historical people are entangled within their environments, struggling to break free. Sometimes these environments are lush, curling, tropical jungles or forms reminiscent of ornate chandeliers, all created from washes and careful drips of ink, graphite and gesso. Hovering between chaos and order, the drawings are full of movement, seeming to shift and grow before one’s eyes. Some seem to mutate.  

In the darkest and most disconcerting of her works, the pain of the characters is palpable. Smith connects this to the physical and emotional suffering that is a daily reality for many people – the media-presented fears and horrors consumed by and embedded within each of us.

Born in London, Smith completed her BA (Hons) Fine Art at University College Falmouth and now lives and works in Penzance. She has exhibited across the UK, has been selected for the RA Summer Show 2015 and short listed for a number of prizes including the Mostyn Open and the Threadneedle Prize.