Timothy Taylor, London is pleased to announce Woodland, a forthcoming exhibition of tapestries, sculpture and works on paper by Kiki Smith. Produced in collaboration with Magnolia Editions, the tapestries are rich with allegory, conflating Smith's confrontation of subjects such as identity, mortality and women's liberation with visual metaphors in the form of mystical creatures and nude human forms.
Through everyday materials such as glass, ceramic, fabric and paper, Smith's work examines the dichotomy between the psychological and physiological power of the body. Smith's objects and drawings based on organs, cellular forms, and the human nervous system demonstrate her deep understanding of the body's intimate functions and delicately balance the global with the personal.
In the early 1990s, Smith's practice evolved to incorporate animals, domestic objects, and narrative tropes from classical mythology and folk tales. Life, death, and resurrection are thematic signposts in many of Smith's installations and sculptures. This subject matter is closely intertwined with Smith's own experience of widespread and personal tragedies; such as the 1980s AIDS crisis.
As a young girl, one of Smith's first experiences with art was helping her father–American sculptor Tony Smith–make cardboard models for his geometric sculptures, and her early practice was greatly informed by other adults around her, including her aunt, Graziella who taught her embroidery and other handicrafts. This formative education spurned a great interest in folk arts, which are still prominent in Smith's work now, especially evident in her tapestries.
Produced by Magnolia Editions, the 2 x 3 metre tapestries featured in the forthcoming exhibition at Timothy Taylor are made using a digitised Jacquard weaving process, which employs a punch-card system to control the thread sequencing. Smith devises the compositions by collaging life-sized cartoons together from drawings and prints-the information that is amassed then passes between Magnolia Editions and Smith to identify areas of colour and design. The exhibition at Timothy Taylor will display the suite of tapestries, alongside sculptures in bronze, aluminium and silver, and works on paper.
Kiki Smith (American, b.1954, Nuremberg, Germany) has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions worldwide, including over 25 museum exhibitions. Her work has been featured at five Venice Biennales, including the 2017 edition, Viva Arte Viva, curated by Christine Macel. In January 2018, Haus der Kunst, Munich presented the first iteration of the touring exhibition Procession, a retrospective of Smith's work from over the past three decades, curated by Petra Giloy-Hirtz and accompanied by a fully-illustrated catalogue.
Smith is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2017 was awarded the title of Honourary Royal Academician by the Royal Academy of Arts, London.
Other awards include the Skowhegan Medal for Sculpture in 2000; the 2009 Edward MacDowell Medal; the 2010 Nelson A. Rockefeller Award, Purchase College School of the Arts; the 2013 U.S. Department of State Medal of Arts, conferred by Hillary Clinton; and the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Sculpture Center, among others. Smith is an adjunct professor at NYU and Columbia University.
Smith's work is in numerous prominent museum collections, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; Museo Querini Stampalia, Venice, Italy; Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin, Ireland; Victoria and Albert Museum, London, UK; Tate, London, UK; Israel Museum, Jerusalem, Israel; National Museum of Art, Osaka, Japan.
Press release courtesy Timothy Taylor.