Kiki Smith (installation view), via Timothy Taylor
This month, artist Kiki Smith presents a selection of new work at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in New York City, focusing on 1990s sculpture, drawing, collage and murals that bring together Smith’s study of the human body and the natural world. Presented in a new, temporary exhibition space at 211 West 19th Street in Chelsea while the gallery refurbishes a new 6,000 square foot gallery in Tribeca that will open next year, the exhibition offers a range of new possibilities and opportunities for the artist’s work.
Smith has long been interested in our most fundamental relationship to the world we live in, modeling, painting and weaving human and animal forms in a variety of media to explore a range of relationships and interactions between bodies and the world. Smith places the human body in a series of spiritual and spatial interactions. The works in this exhibition exhume the body from its battlefields: angry spirits inspired by Greek myth stand alongside Eve-like bronze women; poisoned birds that fell from the sky. Directly and without rhetoric, Smith’s work reveals our core: emblems of primordial loss, sexuality and birth, foretelling our unchanging nature through the millennia.
Death looms over this particular show, with bodies and forms posed in a variety of positions. In one corner a row of dead birds lay on the ground, creating an ominous sense of loss that was echoed by a pile of bones a gleaming shade of gold. Yet Smith seems to take that sense of fear and loss and transform it into a new tone. Near the center of the room, an inverted human head serves as the base on which a colorful, roughly rendered butterfly sits, while elsewhere a series of small figures gaze upwards in submissive, shrugging poses. Smith’s work seems to work on this rising and release of power, on an awareness of forces