Shinique Smith is inspired by the vast vocabulary of things that we consume and discard. Examining the ways in which such objects can resonate on a personal and social scale, Smith pursues the graceful and spiritual qualities in the written word and the everyday.
In works made from the class of objects we call ‘belongings,’ Smith collides the intractable hard geometry and hard thinking that defines urban existence—what Paul D. Miller called “cubes of consciousness” in a 2010 catalogue essay—with the softening, emotionally steeped influence of the worn-down, nostalgic or forgotten. She describes a way of living and looking that is fueled by a flow of relationships between opposites: discrete displaced parts are transformed, becoming one, when grouped or bound together by her hand through a ritual of process. The resulting configurations often straddle the line between chaos and restraint.
Ascribing equal value to both cherished and discarded objects, Smith reinterprets the connections on which we build our personal myths and examines the relationships that contemporary societies establish with the inanimate and the intimate. What is valuable to an individual, culture or society, and why is it valuable? Through her efforts, a new spirit emerges.
Shinique Smith was born in 1971 in Baltimore, MD. She earned both her BFA and MFA from the Maryland Institute College of Art and her MAT from Tufts University and The School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Smith was featured in the 2005 International Istanbul Biennial and in the Rubell Family Collection’s famed 30 Americans, which traveled on to the Chrysler Museum, Norfolk; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Nashville; Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; and the North Carolina Museum of Art, Raleigh. Her work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art, CO; Illinois State University Galleries, Normal; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, WI; Museum of Contemporary Art, North Miami; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Savannah College of Art and Design, GA; Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art (SECCA), Winston-Salem; and the Studio Museum in Harlem, NY.
Smith has also been featured in important group exhibitions at the Birmingham Museum of Art, AL; Brooklyn Museum, NY; Bronx Museum, NY; Contemporary Arts Center, New Orleans; Denver Art Museum, CO; Deutsche Guggenheim, Berlin, Germany; Hessel Museum of Art at Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson; Ludwig Museum of Contemporary Art, Budapest, Hungary; MMK Museum for Modern Art, Frankfurt am Main, Germany; Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; New Museum, New York; P.S.1. MoMA Contemporary Art Center, New York; Santa Barbara Contemporary Arts Museum, CA; Savannah College of Art and Design, GA; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City; Studio Museum in Harlem, NY; Texas Southern University Museum, Houston; The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, IL; Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco; and the Westport Arts Center, CT.
Smith’s work is included in several prestigious permanent collections, including the Brooklyn Museum, NY; Denver Art Museum, CO; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, CA; Margulies Collection Miami; Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore; Rubell Family Collection, Miami; Studio Museum in Harlem, New York; and the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. The recipient of numerous awards, Shinique Smith lives and works in upstate NY.