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Issue No. 17 - Enigma

Keith Smith at Bruce Silverstein

Image above: Artwork ©Keith Smith, My Mother in 1964, 1971. 

 

Bruce Silverstein presented on April 23rd Keith A. Smith: The Fabric Works: 1964 -1980. Throughout his career, Keith Smith has taken a non-purist approach to photography, printmaking, and bookmaking.  The current exhibition, Smith’s third solo show with the gallery, features his earliest works on fabric.

KeithSmithKeith Smith at Bruce Silverstein during the opening night. 

 

3At Bruce Silverstein during the opening night. 

 

When Smith moved to Rochester in 1974 to teach at the Visual Studies Workshop, he arrived with only a sewing machine and a mattress. The son of a seamstress (Smith’s mother helped make some of the quilts in this exhibition), thread, stitching, and fabric became an important component and binding material in his work.  Additionally, the quilt format offered another dimension to explore his fascination with time and movement as elements in his image-making process. Smith contact-printed entire strips of film on light-sensitized fabric, preferring the experience of multiple frames of time to the traditional photographic approach of isolating and enlarging single images.

KSM Margaret lr© Keith Smith, Margaret Gave Me a Rainbow: 2:30pm 21 November, 1971. Courtesy Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York.

 

Brea Souders & Meredith RockwellBrea Souders & Meredith Rockwell at Bruce Silverstein during the opening night. 

 

In the current exhibition, portraits and self-portraits predominate including a life size image-transfer on bridal satin created by color-photocopying a nude model in segments.  Never shying from utilizing new technology in his work, the Color-in Color copier process invented by 3M was especially of interest to Smith in the early 1970s when it was first developed. These experimental images were displayed in a 1974 exhibition in collaboration with Sonia Landy Sheridan at the Museum of Modern Art.

KSM-00321-SP© Keith Smith, Untitled Saddle Shoes with Photographic Feet, 1965. Courtesy Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York.

 

Despite his preference to seclude himself as an artist, Keith Smith’s influence as a teacher and author on the subjects of alternative bookbinding and book structure is widespread. He has made over 300 unique artist books and has authored nine books on bookmaking.  Smith has taught at the Visual Studies Workshop, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and the University of Illinois. He is a recipient of two Guggenheim Fellowships, a National Endowment of the Arts grant and a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant.

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At Bruce Silverstein during the opening night. 

 

All Opening images by Kari Bjorn.

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