“Guileless and without vanity, we were still in love with ourselves then. We felt comfortable in our own skins, enjoyed the news that our senses released to us, admired our dirt, cultivated our scars, and could not comprehend this unworthiness.” - Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye
Scaramouche is pleased to inaugurate our 2014/15 season with an exhibition by artist Alexandria Smith. “Perpetual Adorations” marks Smith’s first solo show in New York and is comprised of recent paintings, mixed media collages and site specific installations. Her work explores the emotionally-charged and awkward terrain of the developing stages in forming a sense of personhood. Responsive to notions of race and cultural difference, Smith’s practice is defined by a unique relationship to the body. Through amorphous, hybrid characters, and a conjured avatar for the artist named Marjorie, the works are imbued with amalgamations of femininity – limbs, pigtails, ribbons and dresses that activate a world in which the South, domestic interiors and magical realism collide.
Inspired by Claymation, Indian and Persian miniatures, and Baroque architecture and textiles, Smith fuses aspects of history and middle class domesticity to thwart the burden of realism. Through a cartoon vernacular and alluring, bold colors, a sense of nostalgia permeates the scenes in which characters on their quest for self, engage in “play” that balances between violence, innocence and grotesque misfortune set amidst sparse and symbolic spaces. Interweaving memory and autobiography, Smith creates a fictional, coming of age narrative that exposes complex notions of identity, gender, sexuality and the psychology of self-discovery.
Alexandria Smith (1981, Bronx, NY) earned her BFA in Illustration from Syracuse University; MA in Art Education from New York University; and MFA in Painting and Drawing from Parsons The New School for Design in 2010. She is the recipient of numerous awards and residencies including the Golden Foundation Residency, Rush Arts Summer Residency, and Vermont Studio Center Residency. Most recently Smith was awarded the Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship, Fountainhead Residency 2015, and AIR Gallery Fellowship for 2014/15. Recent exhibitions in New York include The Schomburg Center, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, Culturefix Gallery and Rush Arts Gallery. She was featured in The Huffington Post's “10 Female Artists To Watch in 2013” and “Black Artists: 30 Contemporary Artmakers You Should Know Under 40”, as well as NBC TheGrio.com's “40 Amazing Black Artists to Watch in 2014". Smith lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.