Emily Mae Smith’s first solo exhibition in Perrrotin Tokyo, JAPAN

Emily Mae Smith’s first solo exhibition not only at Perrotin gallery but also in Asia

Installation view of “Avalon” (2019) by Emily Mae Smith
at PERROTIN TOKYO
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Emily Mae Smith, New York based artist’s first solo exhibition is held in Perrotin gallery, Tokyo, Japan. “Avalon” is her first exhibition at Perrotin Gallery and also in Asia. At the “Avalon” represented by Perrotin, Emily Mae Smith tells her own tales in her paintings.

Her works shows her process of self-discovery and her well-developed concept while showing her established technical skill as an artist. A wide range of motifs are brought in her works, and references often come from Western art history and popular culture, such as Symbolism, Art Nouveau graphics, and Disney animation. Through her career as an artist, she has found out that most of all the art scenes was made by men, as well as designed for men. In her work, she re-uses these motifs sharp-wittedly and sarcastically to point out prevalent sexism, male power structure in art and our daily life. However, as a competent artist, she deals with motifs proficiently not just using the motifs directly. Those expressed motifs in her works and her way of expression are way metaphoric.

Installation view of “Avalon” (2019) by Emily Mae Smith
at PERROTIN TOKYO
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin
Installation view of “Avalon” (2019) by Emily Mae Smith
at PERROTIN TOKYO
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

She took a close up of body parts such as a mouth and tongue and it eventually appears dreamy and floating. A broom in her works somehow seems familiar although it looks like surrealistic fantasy. As you might notice, a broom looking alive was appeared in the old Disney animation film “Fantasia” in 1940. A broom partly appears partly in “The Gleaner and Me”, and another broom with only upper part of it appearing in the frame can bring up the image of male genitals. At the same time, it can also express a symbol of a tool of women’s task, house work and a painter’s brush so its meaning is opened widely.

Installation view of “Avalon” (2019) by Emily Mae Smith
at PERROTIN TOKYO
Courtesy of the artist and Perrotin

Also, from “Gleaner Odalisque” we might find it familiar while it looks comething completely new to us, as we recognize the famous work in art history “Grande Odalisque” by Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres.

Visually, her works also give the senses of graphic poster or remind us of vanitas, landscape, or Surrealism paintings as her work contains a lot of motifs and crosses genre. Whatever you feel instantly, unfamiliarity or familiarity, historical references or statement as a contemporary artwork, there are many spaces left to interpret Emily’s works. Eventually, by combining varied motifs and exposing symbolic meanings her work is centered on subjects from art history and culture scene to contemporary art.

Emily Mae Smith born in 1979, who currently lives and works in Brooklyn, New York has had solo exhibitions at the Consortium Museum, Dijon, France and the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT.

This is her first solo exhibition in Tokyo, Japan and Perrotin and it is better not to miss the exhibition if you are in Tokyo from 28th August to 9th November 2019.

Emily Mae Smith “Avalon”

  • DATES : August 28 (Wed) – November 9 (Sat), 2019
  • HOURS : 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
  • Closed Sundays, Mondays and public holidays. Admission free.

Article written by Jeongeun Jo
Jeongeun Jo is from Korea now living in Japan. She is one of the member of TRiCERA who graduated from Graduate School of Fine Arts at Tokyo University of the Arts (TUA/ Geidai). She is also working as an artist herself. 

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