In the heart of the quaint Vinings neighborhood of Atlanta, Georgia, a powerful and thought-provoking fine art experience awaits art enthusiasts, sporting folk, and conservationists alike. “American Soil | American Soul” is a collaborative art show presented by Durrell and Ashley Smith, two artists deeply connected to the soil of America and committed to healing the soul of the nation through their work in the great outdoors. On August 26th, 2023, the doors of Overlook III will open to welcome visitors into a realm of captivating visual representation by Durrell Smith, complemented by an evocative oratorical expression by Ashley Smith.
The creative minds behind “American Soil | American Soul” invite their audience on a journey that delves into the profound relationship between humanity and nature. Durrell Smith’s assemblages embody the essence of the South, capturing its rich heritage, natural beauty, and distinctive charm. His found objects and pieces indicate a love for primitive and indigenous cultures, a fascination with the great outdoors, and an exploration of humanity’s connection to the natural world within a contemporary context.
Through his bold brushwork, gritty line work, vibrant colors, and meticulous attention to detail, Smith’s watercolor, Goache, and india ink paintings transport viewers to picturesque Southern vistas, evoking a sense of tranquility and nostalgia.
What sets Durrell Smith apart as an artist is his ability to infuse his creations with a sense of Southern storytelling. Each piece carries a compelling narrative, drawing viewers into the emotions and experiences depicted. From portraying local characters to glimpses of daily life and tradition in the region, Smith’s art celebrates the spirit of the South and establishes a powerful connection between the horses, the bird dogs, and its reverent audience.
His artistic process is equally intriguing, as each work begins and concludes outdoors, allowing the elements to transmit a spirit and vitality to every piece. The artworks serve as visual interpretations of communication, capturing, analyzing, and juxtaposing the auditory with the metaphysical senses. Smith uses culturally familiar forms of mark-making, instinctual bodies of line, emotional connections, and sensory perception to convey his artistic vision.
Complementing Durrell Smith’s visual artistry is Ashley Smith’s oratorical expression, which adds depth and context to the art show. Ashley’s words will transport the audience to a place of reverent understanding of the human relationship with nature, inspiring them to recognize the urgency of environmental stewardship.
The central theme of “American Soil | American Soul” revolves around the inextricable link between the health of nature and the health of humanity. As society has modernized, an undeniable chasm has emerged between human society and the natural world. The growing disconnection between humanity and nature lies at the heart of our present-day environmental issues. This art show serves as an artful, yet rallying, invitation to heal this separateness and
unite as responsible and compassionate stewards of the Earth.
Durrell and Ashley’s commitment to honoring their calls as artists has led them to find boundless inspiration for sharing joy through the outdoors with others. Their works also raise collective awareness of the need for everyone to become conservationists. Through their art, they explore the confluence of joy and responsibility that comes with environmental stewardship and how finding a connection point with the outdoors positively impacts the internal ecology of individuals and communities, enabling collective progress.
By attending “American Soil | American Soul,” the audience is reminded that environmental stewardship is not a choice; it is a collective responsibility. The fate of our planet rests in the hands of each individual, and the urgent need to act requires immediate and sustained efforts to reverse the damage caused by human activities. Preserving ecosystems, protecting biodiversity, and addressing climate change are paramount to securing a sustainable future for generations to come.
Through the lens of art, Durrell and Ashley Smith deliver a compelling message that resonates with visitors on a profound level. The art show not only showcases the beauty of America’s landscapes, but also serves as a poignant reminder of the urgency to protect them. By embracing environmental stewardship and making conscious choices in our daily lives, we can pave the way towards a more sustainable and harmonious coexistence with nature.
“American Soil | American Soul” is an artful masterpiece that goes beyond aesthetics and delves into the core of America’s conservation story. Durrell and Ashley Smith’s artistic expressions serve as a powerful medium to inspire change, foster empathy, and instill a sense of responsibility
towards the environment. Their art invites us to reflect on our interconnectedness with nature and the imperative to act as stewards of the Earth. As visitors leave the art show, they carry with them the seeds of environmental awareness, ready to grow and bring about positive change for the planet we all call home.