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Kiki Smith

October 8, 2020 – November 11, 2020

Kiki Smith is known. So much has been written about her. So many of her works are “classic” or “iconic”. And yet, Kiki is human. Of course, everyone is human, but with fame can come changes. Kiki still explores fragility with as much “authenticity” as when she was a young artist just starting out. Furthermore, just like when she was younger, there is no one subject or theme to her work. One cannot put it in a box or encapsulate it.

Krakow Witkin Gallery proudly announces an exhibition of two ‘bodies’ of work. The first is a group of recent sculpture made in the past five years. The second is a group of monoprints made between 2006 and 2020. Together, they provide a door into the artist’s thinking while simultaneously providing a window through which to see the world and its interconnectedness.

Kiki Smith has used and reused forms, stencils, matrices, ideas, molds and more throughout her life. Sculptures can consist of elements taken from drawings. Drawings can be collages of lithographs and etchings. Tapestries are made from collages and collages can be made from images of sculptures. Repetition and reuse go hand in hand with variation and alteration. With the monoprints on exhibition at Krakow Witkin Gallery, the primary process involves making a drawing, converting it into a rubber stamp, hand painting that rubber stamp and stamping paper with that painted stamp. This can seem straightforward and unremarkable. The ‘unremarkableness’ of a rubber stamp, though, is important. Directness of action, minimal pomp and simplicity are not just part of the artist’s process, but important to recognize in appreciating her work.

After stamping each work, she observes the inaccuracies, imperfections and/or irregularities with what she has done. Next, she proceeds to “fix” the image. This can involve drawing, stenciling, painting, and/or applying metal leaf or glitter. The image from one work (“Heart in Hand”, 2015) can be selectively printed and altered to create a different piece (“Little Bird”, 2019) and then the process done again (“Radar Love”, 2020). Looking at her process as an analogy for life, and then adding to that the symbolism of her imagery (birds, bats, internal organs, etc) one gets a poetic representation, created sensitively, that asks for a viewer to take a leap of faith in exploring the seemingly normal as extraordinary and something to be treasured.

The artist talks about the peace she gets from doing these works. From the joy of working in a small size, to the ability to be free with irregularities, she has made this format of work for a good number of years and Krakow Witkin Gallery is honored to present the first survey of them.

Curator Laurence Schmidlin, who has just curated a large exhibition of Kiki Smith’s work in Switzerland at Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, wrote the following:

“Since the early 1980s, Kiki Smith (born in 1954) has focused on the body and its functions, but also its symbolic meaning, status in social space, and representations. Having described the body fragment by fragment, Smith went on to tackle it as a whole starting with its envelope, the skin, then broadened her focus to examine humans’ relationship with the animal and plant kingdoms. This evolution from the microscopic to the macroscopic has always been stamped by the attention she has paid to the senses.”

Kiki Smith’s sculptures in Krakow Witkin Gallery’s current exhibition are cast from either aluminum or bronze. The “imagery” is a strong balance between the celestial and fauna. Motion is implied but time has momentarily stopped. As Schindlin describes, Smith’s focus on sensory perception of all things living (human, animal and nature-based) presents the artist’s worldview where things are all of equal importance and respect is key.

Concurrently with the gallery’s exhibition, the artist has two museum shows on view: ”Hearing You with My Eyes: Kiki Smith” at Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts de Lausanne, Switzerland and “Kiki Smith: Water” at Storm King Art Center in New Windsor, New York.

Works In Exhibition

Sunrise, Sunset

Kiki Smith Sunrise, Sunset 2016 Aluminum

Overall size with base: 19 1/2 x 12 3/4 x 7 inches (49.5 x 32.4 x 17.8 cm)
Edition of 13
Engraved KS 2016 and numbered along edge of bottom tail
(Inventory #31161)

View Larger Image Sunrise, Sunset

Exhibition View

Kiki Smith Exhibition View
View Larger Image Exhibition View

Looking Forward

Kiki Smith Looking Forward 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied watercolor stamp and graphite rubbing on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches (29.2 x 21 cm)
Signed and dated lower center in graphite
(Inventory #31167)

Rise

Kiki Smith Rise 2018 Bronze

Edition of 13
11 3/4 x 23 x 8 inches (29.8 x 58.4 x 20.3 cm)
(Inventory #31778)

View Larger Image Rise

Crest

Kiki Smith Crest 2015 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, watercolor stamp, and glitter on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 8 x 11 1/2 inches (20.3 x 29.2 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31775)

Blanket

Kiki Smith Blanket 2015 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, watercolor stamp, and glitter on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 3/4 x 8 1/8 inches  (29.8 x 20.6 cm)
Signed and dated lower right
(Inventory #27833)

 

 

Guard

Kiki Smith Guard 2015 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, watercolor stamp, and glitter on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 5/8 x 8 1/8 inches  (29.5 x 20.6 cm)
Signed and dated lower right
(Inventory #27834)

 

Blue Bird

Kiki Smith Blue Bird 2010/2019 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 12 x 8 inches (30.5 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31770)

Spring Bird

Kiki Smith Spring Bird 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 8 inches (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31170)

Owl

Kiki Smith Owl 2007 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, watercolor stamp, and glitter on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 8 1/8 x 11 3/4 inches (20.6 x 29.8 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31148)

Cloudburst

Kiki Smith Cloudburst 2017 Aluminum

Overall size with base: 14 3/4 x 11 x 7 inches (37.5 x 27.9 x 17.8 cm)
Edition of 13
Engraved KS 2017 and numbered 8/13 along upper left side (as viewed in image)
(Inventory #31160)

View Larger Image Cloudburst

Moth with Star

Kiki Smith Moth with Star 2006 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, wax, and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 3/4 x 8 1/8 inches (29.8 x 20.6 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31147)

Osprey with Fish

Kiki Smith Osprey with Fish 2017 Bronze with silver nitrate patina

Edition of 13
13 1/2 x 10 3/4 x 3/4 inches (34.3 x 27.3 x 1.9 cm)
(Inventory #31777)

View Larger Image Osprey with Fish

Rain Drop

Kiki Smith Rain Drop 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size:  11 1/2 x 8 inches  (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31165)

Eggs

Kiki Smith Eggs 2005/2019 Monoprint with hand-applied ink and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 8 1/4 x 11 3/4 inches (21 x 29.8 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31153)

River

Kiki Smith River 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 8 inches (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31166)

Spiral Nebula

Kiki Smith Spiral Nebula 2016 Aluminum

15 1/2 x 8 1/2 x 7 inches (39.4 x 21.6 x 17.8 cm)
Edition of 13, 2 AP
Engraved KS 2016 and numbered along right side (as viewed in image)
(Inventory #31159)

View Larger Image Spiral Nebula

Hydra Corvus

Kiki Smith Hydra Corvus 2015 Monoprint with hand-applied watercolor stamp and glitter on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size:  8 1/4 x 11 1/2 inches  (21 x 29.2 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31776)

Radar Love

Kiki Smith Radar Love 2020 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 8 inches (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31772)

Heart in Hand

Kiki Smith Heart in Hand 2015 Monoprint with hand-applied watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 7 7/8 inches (29.2 x 20 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31075)

Little Bird

Kiki Smith Little Bird 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 8 inches (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31169)

Bear with Wings

Kiki Smith Bear with Wings 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size:  11 1/2 x 8 inches  (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31172)

View Larger Image Bear with Wings

Light bulb

Kiki Smith Light bulb 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, watercolor stamp, and metal leaf on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 5/8 x 8 1/4 inches (29.5 x 21 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #30774)

Mind’s Eye

Kiki Smith Mind’s Eye 2015 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 8 inches (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31152)

Butterfly and Fingerprint

Kiki Smith Butterfly and Fingerprint 2010 Monoprint with hand-applied pencil, ink, metal leaf, and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 8 x 11 1/2 inches (20.3 x 29.2 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31145)

Open

Kiki Smith Open 2019 Monoprint with hand-applied ink and watercolor stamp on Losiny Prague paper

Image/paper size: 11 1/2 x 8 inches (29.2 x 20.3 cm)
Signed and dated lower right in graphite
(Inventory #31164)

Exhibition Views

Kiki Smith Exhibition Views

See “Additional Images” to view

View Larger Image Exhibition Views