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.