Hobson’s Choice: Kiki Smith, Behold, at Timothy Taylor Gallery

9 November 2012 By
Image: Kiki Smith, Behold, installation view, 2012, courtesy the artist and Timothy Taylor Gallery
Image: Kiki Smith, Behold, installation view, 2012, courtesy the artist and Timothy Taylor Gallery

12 October – 17 November 2012

15 Carlos Place, London W1K 2EX


Open Monday – Friday 10am – 6pm, Saturday 10am – 2pm

Working across a broad range of media including sculpture, drawings, photographs, films and installations, veteran American artist Kiki Smith is best known for her symbolic depictions of the human form through which she explores ideas from natural science through to cosmology and mythology.  A ‘feminist’ artist in a post-feminist era, Smith’s vocabulary has evolved over more than three decades from symbolic, sometimes disturbing, representations of the female body as a site of authentic, visceral experience, to a metaphorical, mystical world drawing upon literature, history and folklore.  Intimate, earthy and fragile, her art renders the figure in uncomfortably humble, non-heroic terms, expressing its dual aspects of vulnerability and strength.  In recent years her vision has expanded to include animals, the cosmos and the natural world as represented in a new body of work at the Timothy Taylor Gallery in Mayfair.  The exhibition brings together two large works on leaded panels of glass – two naked female figures seated in profile, impassive, emitting shooting stars – a series of delicate aquatint etchings, large bronze wall reliefs and a suspended sculpture, the shadows of which transform the gallery into a barely perceptible dabbled glade, along with a stunning jacquard tapestry depicting two eagles in descent against a chalky sky.  There could be something problematically dated and hippyish about looking to the cosmos for the essentials of life, the cycle of life and death, but the mysterious, almost mute quality of Smith’s imagery endows with a timeless, intuitive knowledge.