Margaret Smithers-Crump

Artist's Statement

My work is rooted in a longstanding interest in ever evolving landscapes, human interventions with the natural world, and microscopic and macroscopic intricacies. Fueling these interests are my travels and residencies, especially my time spent in West Texas. When I encounter large open spaces, valleys carved by glaciers, or the monumental mountains once seabed millions of years ago, I am awe struck. The magnitude, vastness and space are a stark contrast to the urban setting in which I have spent most of my life.

At their core, my paintings and collages are an exploration of form, color, structure and space, used to create feelings of surreal ‘foreign’ environments, bouncing back and forth between natural and man made. Dimensionality is simplified, and time is flattened, questioning if these fractured spaces exist or if they are stylized ruins of a time passed.

To fabricate the works, I graft together individual representations of minerals with symbolic abstract imagery (arcs, rays, lines).  When examined closely, the crystal structures appear to be miniature worlds; microscopic terrains or cities. I am intrigued by the variations in form, color and complexity, that make naturally occurring formations feel as though they are engineered objects, seemingly foreign to the natural world from which they come. Natural elements begin to feel man-made when enlarged and positioned as if buildings lining a road.

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