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This painting is one of a series of eight works, each entitled 'Written Activity'. The series was begun in 1963, the date which Smith has said marked his dramatic break from the traditional style of his earlier work towards paintings that appear like lists or inventories. In 'Written Activity No. 7' the marks resemble hieroglyphs or ancient manuscripts, with spaces that imply pauses in sentence making, although the vocabulary cannot be deciphered. The artist often began with a sentence from a book or newspaper and would 'invent a form for each sound.' On completion of the series of paintings the artist wrote 'I seem now to be able to build up a visual written language that can deal with any experience or sensation.'

September 2004