ELISABETH MUNRO SMITH
What Goes, What Stays: New Constructions is an exhibition about dismantling, discarding, and change. A year ago I moved from a large country studio into a small studio in the city. I disposed of many years of stored work and carted to the new space as much leftover raw materials and old pieces as would fit, and as I began new work, I had to select materials consistent with the limitations of the space- in a sense, changing my own self-image as an artist. The works exhibited here are constructed mostly from materials saved from the disposal pile and reconfigured into new structures. They describe a complicated process of travel from there to here.
I have always worked with a variety of materials- paper, photographs, fibers, wire, but primarily wood, either milled wood or vines and branches that I cut and collected from around my studio. My main focus, for a long time, has been the image of the house in its landscape, as well as roads and maps that connect the house to the world beyond. A narrative unfolds through the materials: curvy vines, strips of wood, the organic and the man-made, color and form, delineating travel through time and space.
About the work
The earliest piece, entitled “What Goes, What Stays”, describes the dismantling of the old studio.
“Five New Places” is a construction of landscapes in five panels, made from saved pieces of painted bittersweet vine and basswood.
“Here We Go Again”, the latest piece, is an assemblage of studio leftovers combined with found objects collected mainly from walks in Central Park. This “map”, with its many tracks and ways to travel, suggests process and change, discontinuity, and the ongoing transformation of the old into the new.