Val Smets is a Luxembourg/Belgian artist currently based in Brussels, she gratuated in 2021 from a MFA, Academy of Fine Arts of uniarts Helsinki, Helsinki (FI).
Smets’ practice is positioned between painting, installation, sculpture, and sensory intervention, often combining painting with light installation, site-specific settings, and smell. Her works reflect on the artist’s deep engagement with painting through a multitude of technics, and her theoretical exploration of the position of humans towards non-human agency through the paradigm of mycelium and fungi.
By playing with scale and proportions Smets is repositioning the viewer as the smallest entity of the scene, evoking questions of perspective as she morphs our familiar gaze on nature. The work allows the viewer to see the world through an ant’s perspective, highlighting one of the smallest (and biggest) groups within our planetary ecosystem: the mushroom.
Her simple treatment of the canvas and the absence of stretchers in her large-scale paintings highlight the materiality of the medium while underlining the artist’s engagement with the ongoing discourse on the traditional presentation of painting, further breaking the confines of the genre. Her direct application of paint on the canvas without preparatory sketches speaks to the remarkable confidence of Smets’ gesture, as her fluid lines and light brushstrokes form colorful landscapes of oversized mushrooms through seemingly abstracted forms.
— Ameli Klein, writer and curator
Recent solo exhibtions include; Living Riddles, AFC Collection, Brussels (BE) 2022, MORE, MORE, MORE!; Schaumbad, graz (AU) 2021, Living Room, galerie Zimmermann Kratochwill, graz (AU) 2021, Troublemakers, Gallerie Kajava, Helsinki (FI) 2021.