Hauser & Wirth Gallery
32 East 69th Street, NY
It was by a fortunate accident that I ended up at the Hauser & Wirth Gallery on the Upper East side while I was actually looking for another Gallery.
There at Hauser & Wirth I walked right into their fall launch; mysterious and dark miniature paintings by Anj Smith.
Things Half-Remembered (Insert, 2010)
Lost Patteran (2010)
The paintings in ‘Geometry of Bliss’ explore issues of identity, eroticism, horror, mortality, and the collisions of these things in our increasingly fragile and uncertain world. In the three portraits ‘Reconstructon,’ ‘The Combatant’ and ‘R.,’ composite proxies smile faintly at the viewer from within the landscape; they wear Philip Treacy hats or cowboy boots, and bleed from self-inflicted cuts that trace the vine and flower patterns of fancy textiles. With the majority of her new paintings, however, Smith forgoes the human figure to signal ‘a mere presence’ through detritus that has been left behind. In ‘Lost Patteran’ (patteran is an archaic word for the improvised signs Medieval travelers would leave for one another, using crossed twigs and other found natural objects to send coded messages about things that lay ahead), a swath of disintegrating, prettily patterned luxury fabric hangs from branches placed atop a dripping, excremental hill.
-Hauser & Wirth
The Combatant (2010)
Anj Smith is a young artist born in Kent, England 1978 and who now lives and work in London.
The paintings are something you want to get to know better, to learn and explore. I was surprised while reading about her fashionable aspects and relations to Chanel and Comme the Garcons, but after a while the twining of the more ancient and the new envisions. I first was thinking more of "R." as a reflection of a dark "Orlando" from Virginia Woolf. While in the writings by the Gallery says it depicts a close friend of the artist as a 21st Century Mona Lisa.
Evolution of Poetic Language (2010)
Social Science (Insert 2010)
After the Escape (2010)
Trampwoman's trace (2010)
This dark world made it hard for me to walk out into the bright and noisy New York Streets again.
I would have loved to bring one of these intricate miniature paintings with me, just so I could study them a for a while. But, for between $30,000 and $50,000 a piece I will just have to wait a bit longer....
Maybe one day?