Two events graced the hot Friday afternoon last weekend. The 14th of September served as the opening night of Colby K Smith’s Navah II and coincidentally my birthday.
Since the inception of Studios Inc, Colby K Smith has served as its director and guided the organization high up the hierarchy of Kansas City Art Culture, while also being a resident artist at Studios Inc. Colby’s time spent running the organization would seemingly distract from his work as an artist. But, after viewing Navah II the very idea of it seems preposterous.
Colby’s newest Navah exhibition follows in the same vein as the previous one. A frantic smorgasbord of techniques, materials, and concepts are at work within the exhibition and all point to a man who embraces and values the chaotic moments within their own artistry and life. All of the fourteen pieces within the exhibition have been built by
Colby using 2×4’s, chalk lines, plaster, tubing, sandpaper, plywood, corner beads, and paint with most of the materials being recycled. The pieces are 3-D sculpture-like paintings attempting to create structure and make sense out of the diverse cast of elements. For example, the plywood and wood 2x4s have been cut to different lengths and glued together into graph-like shapes. Reminiscent of office spreadsheets, bringing the atmosphere and external control of a corporate system. But, thick spontaneous paint strokes, cords coming out of the graph-like constructions, or bleeding chalk-lines denote a sense of chaos bubbling beneath the surface.As I walked through the exhibit and jotted a few notes down in my pocketbook, my mouth’s corners kept twitching into a slight, knowing grin. One that was bursting with feelings of amazement, shock, and pride in Colby’s work. Throughout my time at Studios Inc, I’ve only known Colby as the director who is always losing cups of coffee, cracking jokes as he moves around the cramped, tight office, and marks furiously through my drafts with his personal black pen. Finally, I was able to meet Colby, the artist. I wasn’t disappointed.
Navah II, an exhibition featuring resident artist Colby K Smith, on view from 09.14.18 to 10.19.18