The First Art Newspaper on the Net   Established in 1996 United States Monday, September 23, 2019

Emily Mae Smith's first solo exhibition in Japan opens at Perrotin
View of the exhibition “Avalon” at Perrotin Tokyo Photo: Maiko Miyagawa © Courtesy of the artist & Perrotin.

TOKYO.- Perrotin is presenting a solo exhibition by New York based artist Emily Mae Smith. This is her first exhibition in Japan.

Emily Mae Smith doesn’t mind pointing out that while she’s been painting for some twenty years, her art really began to come into focus around 2013. That tells you a lot—about why her work can have the freshness, energy, and go-for-broke ingenuity of an emerging artist relishing her process of self-discovery, while still also showing the impeccable technical fluency and conceptual sophistication that usually only develop with considerable experience. And Smith has evidently been looking as long as she’s been painting: her references encompass a big chunk of the history of Western painting, including often-overlooked episodes like nineteenth-century Symbolism, as well as a vast swath of the popular or commercial arts, from Art Nouveau graphics through Disney animation to the psychedelic posters of the Summer of Love.

Not surprisingly, Smith has observed that almost all this art was made by men for the delectation of other men. Her determination, in accordance with the times, was to put her own perceptions and experience as a woman into the picture—and to have fun doing it. But as a representationalist, she’s indirect: Perhaps surprisingly, the body hardly appears in her paintings—unless you count the occasional mouth. Or not even a mouth, often just a homeless tongue or a set of teeth as identical and linearly aligned as the ice cubes in your freezer tray. Instead, her figural stand-in of choice is the humble (and distinctly unvoluptuous) besom broom. It represents domestic labor of the kind to which women have been consigned for millennia, but in the sequence of the Disney classic Fantasia (1940) based on the story of the sorcerer’s apprentice, set to the famous score by Paul Dukas, the broom becomes the implement that rebels against its would-be master. “It’s this very lowly thing that became very powerful when someone tried to control it,” as Smith says. And of course in this, the broom also resembles its smaller cousin, the paintbrush.

These days, art making seems to have bifurcated: On the one hand, there is work whose form is fundamentally driven by its subject matter, often rooted in what’s sometimes called identity politics: queer issues, racial issues, decolonial issues, and, of course, feminist issues among them. On the other hand, there is work that—though it may be worlds apart from anything you’d classify as modernist in style—continues to pursue the modernist intuition that art is before anything else an investigation of what art itself is or can be. Understanding how deeply gender and sexuality are woven into the very fabric of art as it’s come down to us, Smith is that rare practitioner whose work’s political and formal substance are so perfectly fused as to be indistinguishable. But—in contrast to the sorcerer’s apprentice— her mastery of her tools is complete; she doesn’t even have to set them to work. She puts them into play.

With a nod to distinct painting movements in the history of art, such as Symbolism, Surrealism, and Pop art, Emily Mae Smith creates lively compositions that offer sly social and political commentary. Her lexicon of signs and symbols begins with her avatar, derived from the broomstick figure from Disney’s Fantasia (1940).
Simultaneously referring to a painter’s brush, a domestic tool associated with women’s work, and the phallus, the figure continually transforms across Smith’s body of work. By adopting a variety of guises, the broom and other symbols speak to contemporary subjects, including gender, sexuality, capitalism, and violence. (Patricia Hickson, Emily Hall Tremaine Curator of Contemporary Art, Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art)

Emily Mae Smith has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Consortium Museum, Dijon, France and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT. Smith’s work is included in the collection of the Whitney Museum of American Art.

Today's News

August 29, 2019

Skull find in Ethiopia yields new clues on how humans evolved

Nazi bombs still vivid for survivors of 'Polish Guernica'

Häusler Contemporary offers an insight into the art scene of western Switzerland

Largest coin hoard of the post-Conquest period found near Somerset

Sotheby's Hong Kong Chinese Works of Art Autumn Sale Series 2019 to take place on 8th October

Sir Rod Stewart's clear out auction

Flagship arts and heritage project for Northern Powerhouse given go ahead

3rd Christie's Middle Eastern Art Sale to be held in London this October

Darth Vader helmet among Hollywood treasures in $10 million auction

Dorsky Museum will open three new exhibitions

Paddle8's new artist commissioning program

Mother, muse and maker: Discover the influence of women in Indigenous art at Tribal Art London

Not lost in translation: Binoche and Deneuve interpret Kore-eda's 'The Truth'

Susanin's announces highlights included in the Fall Premiere Auction

Eight leading jewellery makers and designers pop up at Harvey Nichols

Emily Mae Smith's first solo exhibition in Japan opens at Perrotin

Richard Saltoun Gallery presents the work of two South African artists, Vivienne Koorland and Berni Searle

Sports photography auction totals $454,000, adding to massive summer tally

Jim Davis opens vault to personal archive of 10,000+ Garfield original comic strips at Heritage Auctions

Placido Domingo accusations highlight transatlantic #MeToo split

Jeremy Thomas donates personal collection to the BFI National Archive

Venice film festival opens under cloud of controversy

in Pursuit of Venus [infected] by Lisa Reihana to premieres in San Francisco

Most Popular Last Seven Days

1.- Holocaust 'masterpiece' causes uproar at Venice film festival

2.- To be unveiled at Sotheby's: One of the greatest collections of Orientalist paintings ever assembled

3.- Bender Gallery features paintings by up and coming Chicago artist Michael Hedges

4.- Lévy Gorvy exhibits new and historic works by French master in his centenary year

5.- Artificial Intelligence as good as Mahler? Austrian orchestra performs symphony with twist

6.- Fascinating new exhibition explores enduring artistic bond between Scotland and Italy

7.- Exhibition explores the process of Japanese-style woodblock production

8.- Robert Frank, photographer of America's underbelly, dead at 94

9.- The truth behind the legend of patriot Paul Revere revealed in a new exhibition at New-York Historical Society

10.- Hitler bust found in cellar of French Senate

Museums, Exhibits, Artists, Milestones, Digital Art, Architecture, Photography,
Photographers, Special Photos, Special Reports, Featured Stories, Auctions, Art Fairs,
Anecdotes, Art Quiz, Education, Mythology, 3D Images, Last Week, .


Ignacio Villarreal
(1941 - 2019)
Editor & Publisher: Jose Villarreal
Art Director: Juan José Sepúlveda Ramírez

Royalville Communications, Inc
Founder's Site. The most varied versions
of this beautiful prayer.
to a Mexican poet.

The First Art Newspaper on the Net. The Best Versions Of Ave Maria Song Junco de la Vega Site Ignacio Villarreal Site
Tell a Friend
Dear User, please complete the form below in order to recommend the Artdaily newsletter to someone you know.
Please complete all fields marked *.
Sending Mail
Sending Successful