'Constructs of Romantic Discord' by Detroit artist Torri Smith

The new exhibition of oil paintings by Detroit artist and architect Torri Smith, “Constructs of Romantic Discord,” explores the internal conflicts young women face as they navigate the digital age and the consequences that self-portray on social media have on both interpersonal and intra­personal relationships.

“The pieces focus on the complexities of the internal emotional state and the manifestation of those feelings that lie hidden below the surface. The selection of work contrasts moments specifically curated or constructed by the subjects themselves; the public, against deeper portraits of the unseen internal state; the private,” said Smith.

“I think it’s so rare that we get moments to ourselves nowadays even when we’re alone, it’s like how many times are we not stressing over a guy or some relationship, even friendships? How often are we by ourselves and content and not stressed out, worried or thinking about someone else or not sitting on our phones and texting someone else or waiting for someone to text us? That’s where this (the exhibition) really evolved from. The discord is really within ourselves.”

Smith, an architect at a Detroit-based firm, said the collection comes after taking a two-year break from studying architecture at Lawrence Technological University to study painting at the College for Creative Studies. During this period she began to reflect on her own life.

“‘Romantic Discord’ is really the internal conflict that you’re going through within yourself. None of the paintings have an actual guy or any kind of ink­ling of relationships. It’s not an in-your-face love relationship kind of scenario for any of the paintings. They’re just all kind of singular women, all are alone,” she said.

As social media continues to maintain its place as a major form of communication through the constant stream of seemingly perfect selfies put on display for the entire world, or an ex, to see, Smith uses the collection to delve deeper into this cultural phenomenon.

The 16-piece exhibition, presented by Detroit Center for Design + Technology’s DCDT Gallery, includes a collection of selfies or “moments of self” as Smith describes them. Comprised of two parts, “Constructs of Romantic Discord” explores private moments through the inward journey to finding one’s self and public curated moments designed to convey an often inflated sense of self.

“What I would like viewers to take away is simply an awareness of the influence we have over each other as individuals…what we see is often curated, whether it’s a photo, or a status, or post can be up for interpretation and it’s hard to really gauge the real meaning and true intentions,” she said.

“I would love people to leave the show feeling inspired and I hope it sparks a deeper conversation about personal connections, inner feelings, and how we go about interacting throughout our daily lives.”

“Constructs of Romantic Discord” is free and open to the public at the DCDT Gallery, 4219 Woodward Ave. The exhibition runs now until Aug. 2.

For more information, go to www.detroit.design.

The Detroit Center for Design + Technology Design Incubator provides educational programs, tools and resources to those looking to start or grow a creative business within the city of Detroit. The DCDT Gallery fulfills this mission by also providing a public space devoted to exhibiting the work of local artists.


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