The ArtCat calendar is closed as of December 31, 2012. Please visit Filterizer for art recommendations.



Matt Sheridan Smith, Blanks, Templates, Undos, Redos

Lisa Cooley
34 Orchard Street, 347-351-8075
East Village / Lower East Side
April 18 - May 24, 2009
Reception: Saturday, April 18, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Lisa Cooley is pleased to present Matt Sheridan Smith’s debut solo exhibition. The exhibition will run from April 18 until May 24, 2009 and opens with a reception for the artist on Saturday, April 18 from 6 until 8 pm.

Each work in Blanks, Templates, Undos, Redos begins by pairing coded, conventional forms with external or generative content. Smith then voids, doubles, and copies the works, creating new units and iterations where meaning can coalesce or simply evaporate. The resulting stand-ins, blanks and readymades reveal the sometimes arbitrary ways in which originality, intention, and value are assessed.

Themes and strategies drawn from Classical sculpture and literature permeate the exhibition. Greco-Roman culture was marked by an ambiguous distinction between original and copy. Classical texts were distributed through an oral tradition, and variations over time were incorporated into the original without attribution. Geometric formulas directed artists towards a standardized aesthetic ideal. Most canonical sculptures are acknowledged copies, three or four generations removed from a no longer extant original. This approach to iteration informs a number of works in the show.

At the center of the exhibition is Self-portrait (golden sections), 2009, a set of four pedestals created by applying the Golden Ratio as used in classical figure sculpture to measurements of the artist’s own body. The resulting work molds both a conventional display device and the artist himself into sculptural presence.

In a new series of drawings, Smith has covered a block of lorem ipsum text with a layer of scratch-off ink. The prints are scratched back to reveal a second layer of seemingly impenetrable content, inverting the traditional gesture of drawing. Although lorem ipsum derives from a work by Cicero, it has, like a game of telephone, lost all meaning through endless cut-copy-paste and use as placeholder text by graphic designers.

A willful conflation of form and format, Paper Sculpture (A1, A2, A3, A4), 2009, mimics minimal sculpture through the stacking of raw MDF “sheets” cut to the measurements of the standard international paper sizes.

Neon Sculpture (unbent), 2009, exemplifies Smith’s interest in unfulfilled or rerouted potential. A 25 lb box of unbent 48” neon tubing – of a color labeled as “difficult to bend” – is emptied halfway onto the floor, with only a single tube illuminated. The material itself refers to an extremely polarized content, caught between its ubiquitous use in commercial display and conceptual art. The unbent neon is a slightly melancholic meditation on an artist’s decision to do or not, and what may already be done.

Untitled (the omission of one or more words that are obviously understood but that must be supplied to make a construction grammatically complete), 2007, is a screenprint that consists of an ellipsis repeated over and over and autocorrected in Microsoft Word. The ellipsis serves as both formal device and linguistic stand-in, and, like many of Smith’s works, oscillates between its potential as an end, an aside, a pause, or a deferral.

Matt Sheridan Smith lives and works in New York City. He attended the New School for Social Research. Smith’s work was last seen at the gallery in the group exhibition Gut of the Quantifier. Recent exhibitions include a two-person exhibition at Cohan and Leslie in New York with Eric Anglés, According to Speculative Logic at Western Bridge, Seattle and FAX, curated by João Ribas at the Drawing Center in New York.
Have photos of this show? Tag them with artcat9322 to see them here.