© Anj Smith, Apparatus, 2012, Oil on linen, 42.8 x 38.6 cm/ 16 7/8 x 15 1/4 inches
Collection: Amrita Jhaveri. Courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth
SHOWstudio is delighted to announce that our upcoming exhibition is with painter Anj Smith. Opening 21 November 2014, the painter will create a 'wunderkammer' spilling with the vestiges, mementos, relics and artefacts that combine to inform her meticulously executed worlds.
Anj Smith's paintings do not succumb to easy categorisation. A single golden hair painted minutely, is as likely to appear as a rock face hacked from crude impasto slabs. While the composite elements in her works are not inherently magical or fantastical in themselves, when piled together in sheer layers of paint, they acquire a mystic quality as though extracted from hallucination, intoxication or psychosis.
Smith's painting Apparatus (2012) marks the centrepiece of the exhibition. Ethereal, androgynous and with rouged lips, her sitter's pallid complexion and soft features are crowded with facial hair, dark eye circles and blue veins. Smith's muse is exquisitely attired and has seemingly constructed an armoured veneer from found debris. Embroidered drapery is ornamented with obscure embellishments that have possibly been sourced from the surrounding wilds. Wriggling beetles and insects have been clumsily stitched into place alongside grasses, a jewelled Chanel brooch and a bonzaied corpse flower. Clawing bats nest in the hair amongst feathers, fauna and shells that are lodged precariously into place.
Smith's cabinet features a wide array of objects that have served as a reference point for her work. Richard Dadd's handwritten manuscript The Elimination of a Painter and its Subject-called the Fairy Feller's Master Stroke details the schizophrenic 'spirit' inspiration he received whilst recovering in Bedlam. Plant-inspired relics from Mediterranean temples jostle with antique pearls. 17th century Mughal masterpieces are juxtaposed with a capsule library and glittering figeater beetles fossilised in 70's neon perspex. Detritus, Smith's 2009 Liberty print, also features, alongside Philip Treacy's intricately hand carved Chinese Garden headdress and Yoshiki Hishinuma's waxed plastic wind coat. Amongst objects lent directly from Smith's studio are grains of Stromboli's black volcanic sand, a skull found on the Isle of Mull and a treasured painting of a monkey.
Smith will also release a limited edition etching to coincide with the opening of the show. The exhibition opens 21 November 2014 and runs through until 27 February 2015. Don't miss it!