Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Ashes to Ashes, Dust to Dust

If you're in Seattle or environs and haven't seen the Kiki Smith show at the Henry Art Gallery yet, I highly – no, insistently – recommend a trip before it closes this weekend.

Kiki Smith, Untitled

This jam-packed exhibition of Smith's sculpture, photos, drawings, and collage is easily one of the best I've seen in at least the past year. The body of work on display evidences a designer's eye for composition, placement, and contrast, and a sensibility that sees the natural world in terms that are both clinical and lyrically beautiful. A large part of the show consists of photographs of Smith's sculptures in the making – work that sounds boring but that, in addition to revealing Smith's process of creation, is often dark and fascinating in its own right.

Kiki Smith, Untitled (Head of Guanyin)

Kiki Smith, Harpies

All along the way Smith explores themes of life, death, and decay, myth and reality, and flips the script on the line between object and viewer.

Kiki Smith, Sleeping Witch

You come away feeling like you've learned a secret about the dirty muck and spiritual mystery of life that is common to the most and least among us alike. A+.

Kiki Smith, Untitled (from: Crow)

I Myself Have Seen It: Photography & Kiki Smith is up through Sunday, August 15. The Henry is open 11-4 Wednesday, Saturday, and Sunday, and 11-9 Thursday and Friday.

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