Inspired by dystopian novels, film and American landscapes, Vanessa Smith creates atmospheric scenes of decay and abandonment. The still life of an aftermath. The box shape of the room is a skeleton, in which the narrative is fleshed into place by the composition and layering of objects influenced by music and literature. These scenes allow the viewer to enter the room, assess the situation and create their own interpretation.
Before painting, Smith began illustrating comic books in which she was able to depict scenes of defined narratives into a box. From creating these boxes of imagery, she transferred the bold graphic lines into her paintings of rooms. Exploring both her interest in design and traditional painting by contrasting flat linear elements with intricate oil-painted details; using the stark contrast of styles to make the image more striking.
The interiors in Smith's paintings bring together the mysterious and the mundane, whether it be a deserted cafe or dimly-lit living room, these spaces are imbued with an eerie tension. Devoid of people, there are suggestions of life or habitation - a smoking cigarette, a glowing light, a door left ajar - all hint at a fractured narrative.
The window-view monochrome landscapes increase the sense of isolation, their bleak subjects - burning cars, industrial wasteland, deserted roads, are evocative of an aftermath as seen in Science Fiction films or crime scenes. Although there is undoubtedly a sense of the macabre Smith's work, she has a congenial relationship with this aspect; she finds a beauty in the stillness and silence.