I never learned to crawl as a child but, at some point, just stood up and walked. This is not to boast, for the developmental skip resulted in a significant left-brain/right-brain disjuncture. It is a gap I now bridge through painting. With or without this dysfunction, I might have become a painter anyway. But of one thing I’m certain: my “dis/ability” has had a pronounced influence on how I engage with the world through art. To meet my experience of dislocation, I’ve felt compelled to throw my whole body into the act of painting. I’ve learned to paint, for example, with both hands; but this not about action painting or Rorschach symmetry. These paintings map the trajectories of energy and communication involved in both a medical condition and my responses to it. My approach is raw and intuitive—and painterly in the sense that I am able to let paint be paint. It can drip and flow and catch the eye, for it has own pathways, too. Bright drips spanning dark, cavernous hollows are just that; but they also form a map, or index, of the play of neurons in the cerebellum of a differently-abled person. My work addresses issues of discomfort, fragmenting visual space in ways that reflect my perception of reality and communicate my private experience. For me, every approach to the canvas is an effort to place my vision of the world before the eyes of an able-bodied spectator. I will sometimes employ, for example, bright colours and a light glaze to generate a vibratory effect or visual disturbance that enables viewers to experience, firsthand, my own sense of dislocation and confusion. Colour is also used in ways that draw some spaces forward and push others back. The surface, I then notice, seems to be breathing slowly, as if in counterpoint to the effort and strain I am feeling—arms outstretched—in my attempt to map the surface with my body.
During the Luminous Bodies residency I will produce 3 paintings, exploring the pathways taken by information, light, and where exactly in the brain the interpretation of the visual world begins to be affected by my disability. In an attempt to place my view of the world before the eyes of an able-bodied spectator. I will be approaching each of these paintings with both hands mimicking the other’s movement to activate both sides of the brain. That which is analytical and it’s neighbor which is known to be more creative. In an attempt to normalize the experience of an invisible disability.
Sam Kasirer-Smibert is an abstract painter based in Montreal, who completed their DEC at Dwason college in Fine Art. They had their first solo show at the Victoria Hall Art Gallery in 2015, entitled Atro Versiamo,which means let’s cross over – and which signified their transition to abstraction as well as a new way of approaching painting. They are currently completing a BFA at Concordia University, and more recently has been featured in The Six Hundreds’s summer 2017 journal with a spotlight on the work produced during a two-week residency at Gibraltar Point in Toronto summer of 2017. Sam has recently become a new member artist at Gallery 1313 with an upcoming solo exhibition from July 4-15, 2018.