Kiki Smith

Cathedral (5/10)
Cotton Jacquard Tapestry
117 x 75 in
Smith’s collaged layouts for her suite of tapestries incorporate an endless variety of techniques and media, with glitter, colored pencil, watercolor and a host of printed materials traversing multiple pieces of cut Nepalese paper in a landscape of heterogenous textures. The final weaving of each mixed-media amalgam into a single textile object contributes to the sense of underlying spiritual connection among the tapestries’ diverse population of flora and fauna. Smith’s editions are united further by the series of horizontal bands that pass through each tapestry, as if to suggest that within each ‘realm’ there exists the same strata of sky, land, and underground. A quartet of Smith’s tapestries are associated with the four seasons, identifying Fortune as fall, Hoarfrost as winter, Congregation as spring, and Spinners as summer. Each of Smith’s tapestry editions has undergone dozens of steps and versions on its way to completion, in some cases taking several years to reach its final incarnation. In this ongoing series of thematically linked, dreamlike visions of the natural world, Smith continues to raise the art of collage to new heights.

ABout the Artist

Kiki Smith is a contemporary American artist best known for her figural representations of mortality, abjection, and sexuality. With a special fascination with the body and bodily fluids, Smith often examines excreta such as blood, semen, and bile in carefully crafted sculptures that bear the influence of Surrealism. “I always think the whole history of the world is in your body,” Smith has said. The multidisciplinary artist employs tattooing, drawing, sculpture, printmaking, textiles, and photography, to engage with a range of themes that relate to the human condition. Born on January 18, 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany, she moved with her father the sculptor Tony Smith and mother the singer Jane Lawrence to South Orange, NJ while she was still a baby. The largely self-taught Smith enrolled in the Hartford Art School for a brief period of time before moving to New York in 1976. In New York, she quickly became a fixture of the Downtown arts scene of the time which included artists like David Hammons and Jenny Holzer. Today, Smith’s works are held in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, among others. The artist continues to live and work in New York, NY. 


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