56 Church Street
Monday – Friday
09:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 13:00 Visit Website
Situated at 56 Church Street, SMITH studio specialises in new works by a broad range of established and emerging artists and, in keeping with its unassuming name, aims to make art ever-more accessible to art lovers and collectors, simultaneously demystifying certain aspects of an often complex art world.
The studio will also work closely with art buyers to establish carefully curated private collections that will ultimately yield not only aesthetic benefit but ultimately financial reward too.
SMITH is excited to present Two Trees a collaborative exhibition by Rosie Mudge and Sitaara Stodel. Exploring sentiments seen in both their practices, this exhibition ruminates on loss, belonging, and a search for reality in a sea of unstable memories. The exhibition’s title is taken from Rosa Lyster's poem Another two trees which appeared in her 2016 anthology 'Modern Rasputin'. By incorporating the poem into the structure and physical space of the show, the poem becomes a lens through which to read the works, speaking to the human condition of connection and isolation. The exhibition features individual works by the two artists as well as new collaborative works.
"They try to keep up, the trees,
but the river washes their voices away
and it’s awkward to wail out your feelings
at the top of your tree lungs.
It’s hard. They are easily embarrassed:
they drop all their leaves at once,
which is the tree way of blushing.
They cannot stand to see each other naked like that so
mostly they are content to be quiet and pretend it’s enough
that the other one is only barely out of reach."
Excerpt from Another two trees, Modern Rasputin, Rosa Lyster
Two Trees will run until 6 July. Rosa Lyster has written a creative response to the works in this exhibition. To request this, or for further enquiries, please contact Jana Terblanche at email@example.com
SMITH is excited to present Bad Taste: Image in Crisis, a group show eschewing taste and the pursuit of conventional beauty in favour of art that is disruptive, kitsch and unruly. This exhibition features the work of Erin Chaplin, Mia Darling , Katharien de Villiers , Grace Cross, Olaf Hajek, Thanduxolo Ma-awu, Daniel Malan, Nabeeha Mohamed, Gitte Möller , Anna van der Ploeg , Frank van Reenen and Geena Wilkinson.
In compiling the collection SMITH encouraged its contributing artists to free themselves from the making of so-called beautiful work. The result is a collection that sees colour, form, texture and materiality pushed to extremes in a reimagining of bad taste.
SMITH curator Jana Terblanche considers the show a continuation of a rich South African history of work of this nature. She cites Walter Battiss, Norman Catherine and Robert Hodgins as exponents whose work shows an irreverent crudeness and naivety.
“As a country with resistance woven into our DNA, I think there is a legacy here of work that rejects the status quo. We are a young democracy and accustomed to functional chaos.”
For Bad Taste: Image in Crisis Nabeeha Mohamed and Katharien de Villiers take colour and materials to unexpected places. Mohamed uses unlikely colour combinations and layers of impasto paint to express contemporary anxieties while De Villiers meshes automotive paint, collaging and glitter glue amongst other found materials to conjure new realities.
In several works there is a celebration of luscious texture, exaggerated by the jarring contrast against our growing consumption of flat imagery via device screens. Sometimes harsh, often visceral and intensely intimate, the collection is a pointed affront to conventional aesthetic rules.
“Being confronted with thickly applied, tactile paint is a refreshing reprise. The abject is having a renaissance, particularly in painting. I’m excited by paint that gushes off the surface and threatens to spill or stain bodies around it,” says Terblanche.
Notably, Grace Cross’s painting Teething Problems features a gaping red mouth with oversized, exposed teeth and a patterned tongue that is at once arousing and uncomfortable.
“We should trust our visceral reactions. I think the key is not to be scared to confront why you think something is ‘bad’, because it has probably hit a nerve. Disgust and desire sit close on the sensation spectrum.”
Discomfort plays a headline role in Gitte Möller’s paintings, with jarring geometric mismatches and odd colour pairings delivering both uneasy vertigiousness and cunning optical challenges.
For Möller and her fellow exhibitors, this playful negation of our primary desire for art to be pleasing provokes where it might placate. This is a collection that reminds us as viewers that art is not there simply to give us what we want. By doing so, the works scratch at broader questions of taste, preference and safety to prompt a new appraisal of ugliness, and of beauty.
Bad Taste: Image in Crisis will run until 6 July.
50 Harrington Street
64A Wale Street
23 Buitenkant Street
4 Steenberg Road, Tokai
40 Long Street
16 Buiten Street
67 Loop Street
160 Strand Street
Corner of Church and Loop Streets