ABOUT THE ART

Smith Castronuovo has exhibited her original woodcut collage and sculptural pieces in multiple venues over almost four decades from Maine to California, concentrating primarily in the New York – Tri-state area during the last 30+ years.

She received her M.F.A. degree in printmaking and graphic design/typography from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she began creating monumental collage pieces of raised wood-grain patterns printed onto Japanese paper, then placed on bamboo scrolls to allow the paper to flow or hang naturally, moving towards three-dimensionality.  This new, innovative collage technique was discovered quite unexpectedly, as a result of soul-searching in an attempt to fulfill the masters degree requirement of a cohesive final showing of artworks. The subject matter, although inspired by aspects of the human figure, involves the depiction of the essence or soul of the individual, as opposed to capturing a likeness or physical resemblance, as in her early works.

 

This woodcut collage technique provided a spontaneous new way of working that seemed to stream into her consciousness without prior contemplation as to  the message or imagery.  The work was a derivative of the unique wood-grain patterns and depended on seeing in a new way, and allowing the result to be discovered in the moment. The resulting life-sized, ethereal figures made of  black and white printing ink on paper seemed to speak to the universality of life and the oneness of all of creation, where cellular patterns in the wood-grain, resembling human musculature, mimicked the energetic display of galaxies in the cosmos, as well.. This was the beginning of her love of working with wood, which later led to hand-carving large sculptures of black walnut wood, also guided by an inner prompting, but much more physically demanding than the collage work. A blending of realism and abstraction is seen in these 3–D works that offer a glimpse into the cultural, stylistic concerns of African and Indonesian art.

Her work has received numerous awards in juried exhibitions and has been collected widely by individuals in the U.S. 

Her most recent work involves the use of more vibrant color combining digital photography collage, painting and mixed-media collage, along with the woodcut imagery, as she remains committed to developing her creative skills through opening to hear inner meditative guidance, receiving artworks of a healing nature.  She has been humbly made aware that it is through respect for the work and thankfulness for the love and blessings given that this artwork has been brought into existence. As she receives the works, she is taught about the nuances of life lessons that can be universally shared by all who connect with it. Messages for uplifting humanity are common themes drawing on her African American upbringing and cultural heritage which she loves and feels deeply.