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How would you interpret Shinique Smith's work?

How would you interpret Shinique Smith's work?

June 16, 2016 // by Jaime DeSimone

Looking down from the third floor galleries, I eavesdropped on a group of children who were learning about Shinique Smith's Quickening. As the students got up-close and personal with the work, sitting about eight feet away from the Atrium Gallery wall, I wondered what they thought about the bundles twinkling above them, the mirrored centerpiece, and its calligraphic lines. I thought, “Maybe a very different interpretation than mine.” One child raised his hand and said he saw the sun. Another, stars. A third, an explosion! And, Quickening is all of those things. 

Project Atrium Shinique Smith school tour b
Students take a tour of Shinique Smith's Project Atrium installation Quickening. Image courtesy of Jaime DeSimone.

Although Smith's work is open for interpretation, MOCA Jacksonville's gallery guide contextualizes this site-specific piece within her larger practice. Here, one better understands her trajectory from graffiti and found materials to hubcaps and mirrors. Smith's vibrant abstractions can be anything and everything we want them to be-sun, stars, moon, sky, or beyond. That's why I am so enamored with abstraction.

Project Atrium Shinique Smith Gallery Guide c
A gallery guide for Shinique Smith's Project Atrium installation Quickening is available at the front desk. Image courtesy of Denise M. Reagan.

MOCA Jacksonville is not the only place in Florida where you can see Smith's work. David Castello Gallery, located in Miami Beach, has a solo exhibition of new mixed-media paintings and sculptures. According to the gallery's website:

Spectrums  is a conversation with the artist's upbringing in non-Western and New Age spiritual thought during the late 1970s and early 1980s. Auric fields of color recall mandalas. Twine dimples plush surfaces into crystalline structures, writing flows like vapors of incense. Circles and circular clusters radiate like third eyes, tracking viewers across a series of arresting paintings in ink, acrylic, fabric, and collage on canvas over wood panels.

Sound familiar? Well, if you can't make it to Miami Beach before the exhibition closes on July 23, make sure you stop by MOCA Jacksonville to get one final glimpse of Quickening before it closes on June 26.

Shinique Smith Inner Clock d
© Shinique Smith, Inner Clock, 2014. Ink, acrylic, fabric, paper collage and found objects on wood panel 64 x 48 x 8 inches. Photo: Courtesy of the artist.

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