Next Big Thing: Jed Webster Smith
In his large-scale, hyperrealistic watercolors, Jed Webster Smith explores the history and mythology that shape the American West. Initially, his subjects seem familiar and are “cloaked in a veil of nostalgia,” says Smith, who grew up in Colorado and received a masters and a postgraduate fellowship at New York Academy of Art. But with attentive observation, stereotypical iconography like cowboys and horses reveals subtle references to “the distorted realities of the past,” says the Los Angeles–based artist, who uses his art to comment on topics such as westward expansion, colonialism, and man’s impact on the environment.
Source of inspiration: To spark ideas, Smith reads historical nonfiction and sources documents such as old diaries and journals from eBay or The Strand bookstore in New York.
“Jed’s work explores the myths of the American West in a new and contemporary way”Eileen Guggenheim
Up next: Following a presentation of his artwork Bear Baiting at Art Basel in Miami Beach, he’ll be represented in a group show at Swivel Saugerties in upstate New York through January 27; plans for his first show at Gallery Poulsen in Copenhagen are also in the works.
A version of this article first appeared in print in our 2022 Winter Issue under the headline “Next Big Things.” Subscribe to the magazine.
Click here to see the full list of “Next Big Things.”