Emerging selection 2011: LA artist Emily SMITH


Emily SMITH – Installations, Mix media
She was born in Robinsdale, MN in 1984, and grew up in the Minneapolis area.
Lives and works in Los Angeles

Her website here: https://www.emilysmithart.com/

Emily SMITH Interview conducted by beatrice Chassepot (scroll down)

25, 26 and 27%, mixed media on panel – 2011                                    Utopian Taxidermy, mixed media on white Plexiglas base with clear Plexiglas cover – 2011
courtesy the artist                                                                                    courtesy the artist

emily smithFacade, particle board, cardboard, plastic, turf, plant material, & machine parts, 10 x 7 x 6’ overall, 2012


Emily SMITH Interview conducted by Beatrice Chassepot

BCh: You create outstanding installations with an idealistic topography, tell us more about that topography

Emily SMITH: Ever since I moved to Los Angeles, I’ve been interested in topography. Specifically as it’s seen from an airplane. When I fly from Minnesota to L.A. I am always struck by the difference in landscape. In the midwest there is an overwhelming amount of fresh water and trees. And in Los Angeles there is an overwhelming amount of tract homes and freeway systems. In the south west region I find myself fascinated with crop circles. These crops are grown with a machine that utilizes the water deep underground to water the crops. This is a water source that once it’s used up, the crop circle will be gone.

(In addition to landscape architecture, I’ve also been reading a lot about city planning. The box you saw today has a lot to do with that… Felt like I should have mentioned that today, and forgot. So I included a little explanation of the box in the artist statement attachement as well. It’s called Utopian Taxidermy 1.)

BCh: I like your ?Metro cards? project, can you tell our readers about those cards

Emily SMITH:The small Metrocard pieces I’ve been making are like sketches for me. They are quick studies that help me to think about relationships and composition in a very small, limited way. I was in a show this year at a gallery in NY where all the artists showed pieces made on metrocards. It was something that fit very well with my work, and I kept on making them. The newest ones I’m working on are done on the “green” series of Metrocards. They are cards that talk about why riding the metro makes you more environmentally responsible.

BCh: Even for your wall projects you put objects on them. What are these objects and why are they so important to you?

Emily SMITH: I love when perspective shifts. The small collage elements I use help me to shift perspective very quickly and easily. If something feels to literal or too flat, I add a plastic house or a piece of a computer motherboard that resembles a silo. And on a little metrocard, the house or the silo look enormous. It takes it from representation to abstraction in a very simple gesture.

BCh: Tell us one thing you would like us to change in our life to start a green attitude

Emily SMITH: I wouldn’t say that I expect my work to make people have a green attitude. I think rather, I’m more interested in the idea of “green” and the contradictions that go along with it. I like the discussion of it. I like the awareness of what is happening. But I don’t think I can change the world. Strangely enough, I enjoy the picture of a future dystopia. But I like that my artwork doesn’t come off as being too pessimistic.

BCh: To which artist do you feel related to?

Emily Smith: More so than any artist, I think that I relate my work the most to science fiction writing. Specifically literature centered on the dystopic future city, and exhausted future landscapes. I am influenced by the short stories of J.G. Ballard because of the limitless possibilities they present. Ballard’s future landscapes are places where we are free to imagine various combinations of social structures, human relationships, lifestyles, planet conditions, technologies, nature (or its absence), architecture, landscape and so on. I appreciate the imagery that he presents because it demonstrates that what we understand nature to be is nothing like what it once was, and that this image will continue to change throughout time in ways that we can only imagine. Whether these narratives are looking at the past or the future, they are rooted in what is happening now.

Los Angeles, December 19th, 2011

Go to visit Emily Smith’s studio: