Modes of Perception

To grasp the complexity of Travess Smalley’s psychedelic, semi-abstract prints, one might consider the self-published books he keeps on his studio shelves. Within each binding is a meticulously organized paper trail of photographic, digital, and hand-drawn compositions that mark the in-between stages leading up to his final pieces. Smalley begins many illustrations by scanning images into his computer, digitally manipulating them, printing them out, and layering on paint or marker before scanning them again, and so on. “The pieces shown in exhibitions are the result of a torrent of drawings and paper and prints and data,” says the 29-year-old Brooklyn artist. This month he has a solo show at Foxy Production in Chelsea. Most of the works started with the same simple photo of flowers, taken by Smalley three years ago, and filed away until now.