Piece description from the artist
This painting was composed using various snippets of found images. I love the way shepherd and sheep provide a visual backdrop for the soldiers who are receiving medals for service making us think of a homecoming, a return of sorts, just a sheep follow the herd when it's time to return from pasture. I grew up on a farm and one of my jobs was to take care of the sheep. Sheep are docile animals but fiercely loyal to the group.
Smithenry explores the notion that while we engage in a search for significance online, most of us have to live with the stark fact that neither fame nor notoriety will ever find us. His work asks us to consider how our technology consumes and distracts us from our off-line pursuits that ultimately make us the "somebodies" we are.
Smithenry’s traveling exhibition, Coming Out Online, an installation of paintings that document the online testimonials of queer teens, garnered an article in the Chicago Tribune, was discussed on Chicago Public Radio’s news magazine 848 and continues to tour in various academic venues. His work has been reproduced in Harper's Magazine and The Common Review. He was a featured artist during Chicago Artist’s Month in 2009 and received an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Grant Recipient in 2005
Having grown up on a dairy farm in South-Central Illinois, Smithenry now resides in Highland Park, Illinois, with his husband and their two children.
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