Kate Gilmore. Courtesy of Smith-Stewart.
Smith-Stewart is pleased to present a solo exhibition of new work by New York artist Kate Gilmore.
Kate Gilmore is the sole protagonist of her videos, which take the form of a dangerous line-up of hilariously reckless and poignant performances. Recorded either privately in her studio or on-site, never rehearsed and only attempted once, Gilmore assumes the roles of many different female stereotypes and creates makeshift sets that act as the catalyst for a mélange of wacky riffs on daily life. The extreme emotional pathos and grueling physical endurance recall the early video pioneers Vito Acconci and Bruce Nauman and the seminal 1970s performances of Valie Export and Marina Abramovic. At Smith-Stewart, Gilmore presents three videos from 2008 and debuts a new sitespecific sculpture and video made inside the gallery. To enter the exhibition, the audience is required to walk through her sculpture, which also functions as the set and prop for the video. The installation is further testament to the sheer physicality of Kate Gilmore’s practice.
In Between A Hard Place, 2008, Gilmore dons black gloves, a black dress and yellow spike heels, and punches and kicks her way mercilessly through five layers of dry wall and plywood. The objective of her extreme offensive: a canary yellow wall at the end of a 24-foot long tunnel, color-coded to match her incredibly high heels.
In Down the House, 2008, Gilmore, mallet in hand, stands precariously atop a pile of rickety wood furniture and plaster blocks tied haphazardly together with fluorescent pink construction tape (a matching bow in her hair) and coated in still wet red paint and plaster. Soon Gilmore hurls the sledgehammer down onto the structure, repositioning herself each time to avoid losing balance. The plaster crumbles and disintegrates, thered paint and wet plaster splatters and smears, and the furniture topples. The video fades to black and ends with the echoing sounds of the mallet pounding the plaster.
Finally, in the six-minute single channel video, Higher Horse, 2008, Gilmore perches herself on top of a tall pile of plaster blocks. The wall behind her is pale pink with veiny red streaks. Two muscular men with matching mallets simultaneously pummel the rocks where Gilmore attempts to balance. In red heels and a black skirt, she struggles to maintain her stability after losing a shoe while the men come dangerously close to smashing her naked legs.