Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Past: Michael E. Smith

"A google search says no one has used to word tumor in any online writing about Smith. Which seems odd; his objects seem awfully affected by a lot of lumps, red dots, growths on institution and inflated with resin crusts. Teratomas: the classic hair and teeth of your twin in your tummy. You can google pictures of these, they actually look a lot like Smith's more "bodily" objects. Of growths without cause, find a potato in our eye, the "categorically promiscuous." Things sliding into new subjects like bare knees across asphalt..."

"Threat of bodily violence (a body to become goo as any other) is implicit to art that treats materials as categorically promiscuous (surreal), e.g. if you can put puffer fish under the table's summer sky, inflate them like footballs with whale ears, aren't you as wiling to place skulls at your knees. The disregard for the categorical order is like gore, crushing bodies."

"It's a cliche at this point to say that Smith makes the mundane object estranged. And in a sea of so many surrealists currently operating, less than helpful. Estrangement is today's go-to strategy. Smith's is individuated, each object set off so that we can no longer "know" the sculpture, eroding a complete vision, and opening a distrust. A psychological sliver. We cannot know the object, its relation to other objects is broken, either categorically (there is no category to place the object within, surrealist) or psychologically (the unknown threat). The rocking chair I project from the two elegant bones still in contact with the substrate of the real is not the same as the one in your head. This unknown destabilizing of our ability to conceptualize the objects in equitable terms to exchange with another -both objects and other people - (eroding the material semio-substrate with which our exchange is based) breaching a distrust, is its sinister quality."

"You can never be certain you've seen all the butterflies, their artwork is everywhere."


Click for full: Michael E. Smith at AtlantisMichael E. Smith at 500 Capp Street Foundation, Michael E. Smith at Sculpture Center, Michael E. Smith at Michael Benevento, Michael E. Smith at Zero, Michael E. Smith at Lulu, Michael E. Smith at Susanne Hilberry,