New York, NY
The mixed media work of Alexandria Smith explores the awkward terrain of the developing stages in forming a sense of personhood through amorphous, hybrid characters. These works include amalgamations of femininity that are a mass of limbs, pigtails, ribbons and dresses that activate a world in which the South, domestic interiors and magical realism collide. Through a cartoon vernacular, her work utilizes alluring, bold colors to deconstruct the body yet still provide a universal platform in which the viewer is able to relate and connect with the work. The viewer bears witness to scenes in which characters engage in “play” that borders between violence, innocence and grotesque misfortune in sparse and symbolic spaces on their quest for self. Interweaving memory, autobiography and history, Alexandria creates a fictional, coming of age narrative that brings up complicated notions of identity, gender, sexuality and the psychology of self-discovery. The world of her paintings not only transports the viewer through the use of skewed perspective and not-quite-right content but also by disrupting the exhibition space begging the question, who is really out of place here?
Smith’s practice – in both subject matter and studio preparation – is responsive to notions of race and cultural difference, and is defined by a unique relationship to the body. Utilizing her archive of completed paintings and drawings, she resources her own work to create new images through a regenerative collage process where the old is re-contextualized into something new. Elements of her work also infiltrate the actual space of our world by incorporating found objects and constructed paint skins which collage the surface. Inspired by Claymation, Indian and Persian miniatures, and Baroque architecture and textiles, Smith's work fuses aspects of history and middle class domesticity to thwart the burden of realism.
artist’s website: www.alexandriasmith.com