Artist Shinique Smith’s captivating canvas collages and hanging sculptures are made from found objects from the artist’s life - including some of her own clothing. Recently opened at Chelsea’s James Cohan Gallery, “Bold As Love” incorporates Smith’s colorful body of work and features hanging anthropomorphic forms made from upcycled garments. The show coincides with the announcement of Smith’s piece for MTA for the Arts, which will be a giant mosaic rendering of one of her collages for a bus shelter in Harlem.
Smith’s work is inspired by our consumer throw-away culture, and assigns a vocabulary to the items and materials that we purchase, use and then discard. Acting as sort of an organized hoarder, Smith collects materials, packaging and patterns that stand out in her day to day life, later transforming them into mandala-like collages in grandiose proportions on wood panel. Embellished with brightly colored paint, the collages have an animated feel with heavy cartoon-like lines running throughout.
Smith’s bubbly sculptures hang throughout the gallery. Made from textiles and cloth, many of the pieces take on a personal representation of the artist herself. Smith sources her materials from friends and thrift stores, as well as from her own closet, turning favorite dresses she associates with personal events and memories into these body-like sculptures that hang freely in the gallery. Printed t-shirts, popped collars and buttons give away the materials’ former uses, but Smith’s method of tying obscures each piece into the realm of sculpture.
The beautiful show will be exhibited until March 16. Smith’s MTA for the Arts piece will be completed in 2014.
Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat