Smarkusz's Social Realism and Genre scenes abstracted into a form of Figurative Expressionism
From 1939 to 1941, as he worked towards a BFA degree from Hartford Art School in Connecticut, Vincent Smarkusz created primarily pencil and ink drawings as portraits, scenes of people, buildings and landscapes. Then, completely interrupting his intentions of becoming a "professional artist", he was drafted into the U.S. Army to serve five long years in WWII. Vincent continued drawing portraits and landscapes, including hundreds of peaceful military genre scenes, until his release from service in January of 1946. In May of that year he dispalyed 32 of his favorite drawings from the war, in the Annual Harftford Art School Art Show.
From 1946 to 1949, Smarkusz then created black on white lithographic prints while reenrolled at the school. His images shifted strongly towards Figurative Expressionism. Some of the images appear to be related to his own sinking post-war emotional state and the beginnings of Cold War existential angst. They are a prelude to his 1950s work, which then shifted strongly towards abstract mythomorphic figures - "dreams and nightmares" he called them.
Unlike the Abstract Expressionism emerging in New York in the 1940s, Smarkusz preferred the Figurative Expressionism that was developing in Boston. Although he chose to differentiate his own style from theirs, he greatly admired the work of the Boston Expressionist painters he met there after moving to Boston in 1950.
Throughout his life as an artist, Smarkusz experimented by incorporating varying degrees of figuration, abstraction, symbolism, and mythical-realism - creating several expressionist style variations of his own.
A figurative expressionist at heart, an abstract symbolist of mind, and always deeply mystical in spirit,
Smarkusz created unique visual expressions with sensual forms, conceptual themes, and mischievous humor.
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