Emily Mae Smith (b. 1979, Austin, Texas)
Emily Mae Smith’s sly, humorous, and riveting compositions nod to art historical movements such as Symbolism and Art Nouveau, though with a distinctly 21st century spin. Her genre-defying paintings speak through a vocabulary of signs and symbols addressing timely subjects including gender, class, and violence. Smith’s paintings tackle art history’s phallocentric myths and create imagery for subjectivities absent in visual culture, specifically the feminist perspective.
Emily Mae Smith was born in 1979 in Austin, Texas. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. Recent solo exhibitions include: Pond Society, Shanghai (2023); Petzel Gallery, New York (2022); Perrotin, Paris (2021); Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium (2021); Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY (2020, 2017); SCAD Museum of Art, Savannah, GA (2020); Marion Art Gallery, Rockefeller Arts Center, Fredonia (2020); Perrotin, Tokyo (2019); Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford (2019); Le Consortium Museum, Dijon (2018); Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin (2018); Perrotin (with Genesis Belanger), New York (2018); SALTS (with Adam Henry), Basel (2017); Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels (2016); Mary Mary, Glasgow (2016); and Laurel Gitlen, New York (2015). Select group exhibitions include: The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C. (2022); The Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), Los Angeles (2022); 58th October Salon, Belgrade Biennale, Belgrade (2021); Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus (2021); Arsenal Contemporary, New York (2021); Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland (2020); Public Art Fund, New York (2020); Petzel Gallery, New York (2020); Hauser & Wirth, New York (2019); Arsenal Contemporary, Montreal (2019); Gio Marconi, Milan (2019); Peter Freeman Inc., New York (2018); Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York (2018); Lumber Room, Portland (2017); König Galerie, Berlin (2016); The Moore Building, Miami (2015); and Skirball Museum, Cincinnati (2014).
Smith’s work is included in collections such as Arsenal Contemporary, Montreal, Canada; Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas; The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York; Columbus Museum of Art, Columbus, Ohio; The Consortium Museum, Dijon, France; Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, Texas; Harvard Art Museums, Cambridge, Massachusetts; The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden, Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California; The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California; Museum Brandhorst, Munich, Germany; Powerlong Art Museum, Shanghai, China; Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, Connecticut; Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, New York; Zuzeum Art Centre, Riga, Latvia.
Formally the figure of the broom allows Smith to represent the female body while avoiding the representation that she wishes to trouble within the canon of Western art History. Gone are the loci of lust, objectification, veneration, and hierarchies of power. Instead the figure humorously steps into the poses of art history...”
Excerpt from Hoare, Natasha. “Emily Mae Smith: A Broom of One’s Own” Flash Art. April 20