Artist and Painting Professor Alexandria Smith on How Doodling and Daydreaming Are Integral to the Creative Process

Alexandria Smith’s surreal mixed-media paintings are neither landscapes nor portraiture in her functions, which she constructs with painted wooden, the regulations of composition are unbound by physics—it is the things of dreams.

The Bronx-born artist, who is primarily based concerning New York and London, where by she is head of painting at the Royal Faculty of Artwork, will have her initially exhibition with Gagosian on New York’s Higher East Facet this week. Smith was also between the artists who appeared in the gallery’s buzzy demonstrate of socially engaged artwork, “Social Is effective,” curated by Antwaun Sargent past tumble.

For Smith’s forthcoming solo exhibit, “In Fake Gravitas and Dream Aborted Givens” (also curated by Sargent), she will take up the phrases of American cultural critic Greg Tate, a mentor who died final yr. In a 2011 essay, Tate aptly described Smith’s follow as one that identifies “with the have to have for all ghosts, freaks, and spooks to make peace with the day-to-day realms of the mundane and the quotidian.” In fact, every element of the artist’s canvases exist in a kind of magical flatness that she builds up with wood assemblage prior to portray the surface.

For her Gagosian debut, Smith will show new paintings that continue on her investigation into selfhood, queerness, Blackness, and femininity. Her moody assemblage paintings, which are housed in personalized artist frames, will also be offered in a solo exhibition at the New Hampshire’s Currier Museum of Artwork in June.

We caught up with the artist while she was touring the Venice Biennale past week ahead of her own exhibition.

© Alexandria Smith. Photograph: Prudence Cuming. Associates Ltd. Courtesy the Artist and Gagosian

What is the most indispensable merchandise in your studio that you simply cannot dwell without?

That’s a difficult issue, I don’t actually have a person. The apparent solution would be my paintbrushes.

What is a studio process on your agenda this week that you are most wanting forward to?

The agenda that I’m most searching ahead to is ending the previous two paintings for my solo exhibit at Gagosian.

What form of atmosphere do you like when you operate? Do you listen to tunes or podcasts, or do you prefer silence? Why?

I am often listening to new music although I get the job done. The genres variety from hip hop and R&B to rock and jazz. Most just lately, I’ve been listening to a sequence of awesome lectures by Richard J. Powell referred to as “Colorstruck! Painting Pigment Affect” hosted by the Countrywide Gallery.

© Alexandria Smith. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian

© Alexandria Smith. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian

Who are your beloved artists, curators, or other thinkers to adhere to on social media proper now?

Some of my favorites are: @simoneyvetteleigh @adriennemariebrowne @blackforager @the.black.gaze @professionalblackgirl @apshantology

Is there a picture you can send of your present do the job in development at the studio?

These pictures are of the last two paintings I designed right after the wooden parts are assembled and primed with gesso. I delight in this stage of my perform simply because I see the organic shadows of the perform that the layering of the wood generates.

Work in progress. Courtesy the artist.

Work in development. Courtesy the artist.

When you experience stuck though planning for a present, what do you do to get unstuck?

If I’m experience trapped even though planning for a exhibit, I have a tendency to go through both of those fiction and artwork concept texts that are conceptually very similar to themes that I’m checking out. I also turn to doodling and drawing which is the nucleus of my apply.

What trait do you most admire in a do the job of art? What trait do you most despise?

I most admire the selection of a painter’s depiction of light-weight. I most despise functions that blatantly copy other artist’s perform.

What illustrations or photos or objects do you appear at although you operate? Share your perspective from driving the canvas or your desktop—wherever you expend the most time.

I look outside the house of my studio window at the Thames River frequently and daydream.

View from Alexandria Smith's studio window onto the River Thames. Courtesy the artist.

See from Alexandria Smith’s studio window onto the River Thames. Courtesy the artist.

What is the previous exhibition you observed that built an impression on you and why?

Faith Ringgold’s demonstrate at the New Museum throughout my past trip to NYC and Francis Bacon’s demonstrate at the Royal Academy of Art in London. Both of those of them are my all-time favorite artists so it was a desire to knowledge such comprehensive exhibitions of their work in individual for the initial time.

I am also now responding to this previous dilemma from the Venice Bienniale and Simone Leigh’s presentation in the U.S. Pavilion is amazing. I’m awestruck.

In Faux Gravitas and Desire Aborted Givens” opens on April 28, 2022 at the Park & 75 site of Gagosian, at 821 Park Avenue, New York.

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