Sable Elyse Smith

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Artist Statement

My practice considers memory and trauma while enacting an undoing of language. I work from the archive of my own body creating new syntax for knowing and not knowing, thereby marking the difference between witnessing and watching. To see is unbearable. Through video, sculpture, images, and text I utilize the framework of self-portraiture to survey traces of trauma inscribed on the body. This work addresses the violence of the everyday and it’s slow palimpsestic accumulation. The self is contextual; contingent upon geography, system, relationship, memory, knowing–through proximity the body is rendered and marked.

I am dedicated to an engagement with filmic language and the poetic. Through such I have been making a series of video portraits sifted through the lens of my father’s narrative– an inmate at numerous California prisons over the past 19 years. These works become a portrait of him, California in the 80s, the Prison Industrial Complex (and it’s micro economies), violence, myself and the legacy of constructed fictions.

Using aerial views of prison complexes as a point of reference, I extracts colors (blues in particular), demarcation lines, and other fragments that touch on the experience of visiting my father in various prisons over the past 19 years. The subsequent works examine and dismantle regulatory codes that are both embedded in the body yet deeply impersonal, creating a space where achieving normalcy begets an alien, unfamiliar presence.

CV

EDUCATION
2015
Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Madison, ME
2013
Parsons The New School For Design, New York, NY
MFA in Design & Technology
2011 Oglethorpe University, Atlanta, GA
BA in Studio Art & Film

SELECTED EXHIBITIONS & SCREENINGS
2016 ​
With Liberty and (in)Justice For All?, Gateway Project Spaces, Newark, NJ
Partner in Crime, Paul Robeson Galleries at Rutgers University, Newark, NJ
Focus on the Funk: Journeys, Serpentine Gallery & Birbeck College, London England
Over the Wall, Southern Exposure, San Francisco, CA
Comrade What is Your Visual Bond? Sunday Sessions: Screening, MoMA PS1, New York, NY
History As I Know It, On the Ground Floor Gallery, Los Angeles, CA
History As I Know It, IMPeRFeCT Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
2015
La Lucha II Dom & Haiti Visions of Tomorrow, Andrew Freedman Home, Bronx, NY
Blue is Ubiquitous and Forbidden,  SOHO20 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Dis Place, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NY
Inherited, BRIC, Brooklyn, NY
Consequential Translations, Centro Cultural de Espana, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
La Lucha, Rio Penthouse Gallery, New York, NY
RESPOND, Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY
2014
Yeah That’s What She Said, Specials On C, New York, NY
2013
Contemporary Temporary Sound Works And Music, Eyebeam, New York, NY
Gaze Series #5: Transgressions, Artist Television Access, San Francisco, CA
Present Futures, The Mandrake, Los Angeles, CA

PERFORMANCES & READINGS
2016
The Listening Party, MoMA Pop Rally, New York, NY
Sable Elyse Smith & Camel Collective, The Poetry Project, New York, NY
Reading & Launch Selfish Magazine: Issue 3, Over the Eight, Brooklyn, NY,
2015
Mirror/Echo/Tilt, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture: New York, New York, NY
Reading: Blue is Ubiquitous and Forbidden, SOHO20 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
Sifting, The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NY
“AUNTSforcamera” Artist-Devised Tour, New Museum, New York, NY
2014
Heart, Voice, Song: Three Meeting Performances, Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY
Fallow Time: Movement Research Festival: Through Body, Through Earth, Through Speech, Queens Museum, New York, NY
2013
Dissident Futures Art and Ideals Festival,Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA
Through Body, Through Earth, Through Speech, Eyebeam, New York, NY
Performative Reading Event for Daily Violence with Huong Ngo,
The Window at 125, New York, NY
2012
The Future is Fantastic (If You Want It), New Museum, New York, NY

TALKS & SEMINARS
2016
In Conversation w/Shaun Leonardo, March 23, 2016, BRIC, New York, NY
Comrade What is Your Visual Bond? Sunday Sessions: Panel, MoMA PS1, New York, NY
2015
“New Museum R&D Seminar: Persona,” Selected Participant, New Museum, New York, NY
“Dis Place: Artist Talk,” The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, Brooklyn, NY
“I Can’t Breath: Conversation w/ Shaun Leonardo Moderated by Kimberly Drew,” August 14, 2015. BRIC, Brooklyn, NY
2014
“In Conversation: Ayana Jackson and Monique Long,” Michael Steinberg Fine Art, New York, NY
“Subtleties of Resistance” Free University at Kara Walker’s “A Subtlety or the Marvelous Sugar Baby” In dialogue with Nicole Fleetwood, New York, NY
2012
Panel Participant: “It Is All Here.” Memories Can’t Wait. December 14, 2012. The International Center for Photography, New York, NY.

RESIDENCIES
2016
Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship
2015
Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture
2013
iLab Residency

PUBLISHED TEXT & ARTWORK
2016
“Ecstatic Resilience,” Essay, Recess Art (online).
“Blue is Ubiquitous and Forbidden,” Story, Selfish Magazine.
“Studio Visit: Troy Michie,” Article, Studio Magazine. The Studio Museum in Harlem
2015
“Sadie Barnette,” Article, No Tofu Magazine. No Tofu Media.
“Studio Visit: niv Acosta,” Article, Studio Magazine. The Studio Museum in Harlem
2014
“Performing Prison: The Art of Incarceration,” Article, Studio Magazine. Studio Museum in Harlem
“Pattie Jordan,” Interview, No Tofu Magazine. No Tofu Media.
“Orange is Two Shades of Gray,” Essay, No Tofu Magazine. No Tofu Media.
2013
“The History of Silence,” Artist Book, The Institute for the Research & Reinsertion of Diasporic Memory.
2012
“IT IS ALL HERE,” Photo Essay, Radical Teacher, #94.University of Illinois Press.
2008
“The World According to Hate,” Short Story, Anthology, London Metropolitan University.

GRANTS & FELLOWSHIPS
2016
Foundation for Contemporary Arts Emergency Grant
Queens Museum Jerome Foundation Fellowship for Emerging Artist
Recess Art: Critical Writing Fellow
Emerging Artist Fellowship Socrates Sculpture Park
Creative Capital Fellow
2015
Art Matters
Franklin Furnace Fund for Performance Art
Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture

BIBLIOGRAPHY
2016
Amuse- i-D.vice.com
https://amuse-i-d.vice.com/four-black-artists-in-ny-who-you-need-to-know/
The Creators Project: VICE
http://thecreatorsproject.vice.com/blog/cosmic-black-utopia-emerges-in-installations
The New York Times
http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/12/arts/design/artists-grapple-with-americas-prison-system.html?_r=0
Narrative.ly
http://narrative.ly/the-truth-hurts/visualizing-the-overlooked-legacy-of-mass-incarceration/
ARTNEWS
http://www.artnews.com/2016/01/12/creative-capitals-2016-awardees/%3Cbr%20/%3E
2015
Hyperallergic
http://hyperallergic.com/260681/artists-of-the-african-diaspora-cast-off-the-legacy-of-displacement/
Artnet News
https://news.artnet.com/art-world/art-events-new-york-october-27-342611
2014
Walker Art Center Blog
http://blogs.walkerart.org/ecp/2014/12/23/2014-the-year-according-to-jeff-chang/
Art in America
http://www.artinamericamagazine.com/news-features/previews/we-are-here-people-of-color-gather-at-kara-walker-show-/
Colorlines
http://colorlines.com/archives/2014/06/kara_walkers_sugar_sphinx_evokes_call_from_black_women_we_are_here.html
Ebony.com
http://www.ebony.com/photos/entertainment-culture/kara-walker-domino-003#photo-15
2013
Sculpture Center Tumblr Featured Artist
http://sculpture-center.tumblr.com/post/67586541205/featured-artist-working-in-performance-video