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Allison Smith
Septr 5 - Oct. 7
Opening:Thursday Sept 5th from 8-10pm  

335 Grand Street
Brooklyn NY 11211

Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon, 12-6pm
and by appointment
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Allison Smith Allison Smith Allison Smith Allison Smith Allison Smith Allison Smith


BELLWETHER is proud to present Alison Smith: Stilleven,evenStill

The title of the exhibition, Stilleven,evenStill takes the 17th Century Dutch term for still life and mirrors it back onto itself, suggesting the persistence of the genre, and of course, vanitas. In her first New York solo debut, Allison Smith considers the disguised symbolism, ambiguous moralizing, and political allusion present in the objects of still life painting, here materialized as lush sculptural props for a discontinuous narrative of her own subjectivity.

We are all products of our environment in some way, but like an indigenous anthropologist, the oxymoronic term for scholars studying in their home societies, Smith investigates the historicized suburban space of her youth and its apparent promise of time travel. Using the commodification of history as an aesthetic palette, Smith makes countless objects and accessories that function somewhere between prototype and artifact, prop and product, evidence and ephemera. Using this idea of an object's potentially multiple identities, she often editions her work, recycling and reconfiguring it into more than one context.

In Mom-n-Pop, Smith seems at first to be gazing nostalgically at the dearly departed general store, creating a large almost museum-like store display of handmade objects- quilts, candles, soap, maple syrup... However, there is more here than meets the eye. For the title, like each of the objects, has multiple meanings. Smith, whose first introduction to art was through her mother's obsession with early American handicrafts, uses techniques including embroidery, theorem painting, and floral arrangement, as well as slipware ceramics, blown glass, cast pewter and beeswax, gouache painting, silkscreen printing, and various forms of drawing, including frottage and pin prikt. In humorously gendered complement, Smith's father is rumored to be an inventor of tradecraft, a term (uncannily similar to Warhol's "business art") referring to devices used in international espionage. Fittingly, Smith's art is one of spying on history - her own, that of her ancestors, and of American culture in general. At times her work appears masked by a lighthearted pop superficiality, but on closer inspection we find her secretly taking a tip from her feminist forebears and delving into the psychosocial dimensions of autobiography and women's work, revealing a deeply personal vision about the connection between craft and the construction of identity.

BELLWETHER is an artist-run space in support of emerging artists.