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Like spiral galaxies composed of millions of orbiting stars, the works of New York State-based artist Shinique Smith are graceful yet forceful combinations of many different materials and ideas. The wide range of inspirations that inform her artistic practice includes dance, Eastern spiritual philosophies, fashion, graffiti, music, childhood wonder, Japanese calligraphy, and poetry.
Smith makes her sculptures, which hang from the ceiling or sit directly on the floor, by binding together an array of textiles, typically old clothing sourced from multiple locations, with knotted cords and ribbons. Tucked within the folds of fabric are seemingly unimportant items from everyday life such as artificial flowers, butterfly decals, and stuffed animals. In Smith's paintings, these elements intermingle with cloth fragments, bold calligraphic brushwork, and vivid waves of color to create energetic expressions of her personal history as well as a greater sense of cultural concern and cosmic connectivity.
In addition to an introduction to Smith's work by Kathryn Delmez, curator of an accompanying exhibition at the Frist Art Museum, the book includes a biography and bibliography of Shinique Smith, a statement by the artist (Black Wonder and Rainbows), and an interview with her conducted by Jen Mergel, the Robert L. Beal, Enid L. Beal, and Bruce A. Beal Senior Curator of Contemporary Art at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.