Mark Moore Gallery proudly presents "A Swollen Light Behind The Eye," an inaugural solo exhibition in Gallery Two by contemporary ceramicist and sculpture artist, Meghan Smythe. Deriving inspiration from James Arthur Baldwin's theory of dishonest sentimentality, the artist explores the process of recounted memory – as well as emotion's tendency to obfuscate motive.
Working within the tradition of the monument, the exhibition presents a theatrical choreography. Memories relating to youth, the familial, cyclical states, and chaos are made manifest through gesture and a fusion of contradictions. Smythe captures conflicting extremes within her compositions: intimacy and brutality, beauty and ugliness, or the lewd and tender. In her attempt to achieve an "elegant vulgarity," she encapsulates moments that define our mortality in unanticipated ways; oftentimes toeing the delicate line between erotic and macabre tendencies that give way to life, and ultimately death. Says the artist, "I work in and out of representation to find a visual lexicon where the weight of an archetype gives way. At this breaking point, lunacy meets levity and the indulgent narrative falters, turns back on itself, and is ultimately undone." Glass, ceramic, and concrete are woven together in an elaborate, orgy-like web of body parts and organic artifacts, as if suddenly cast within Pompeii-like circumstances. Like excavated antiquities or fossils, Smythe's glazed materials allude to the recurrent nature of civilization, and our perpetual hunt for the sublime - a dramedy in which all of the players are subject to conquest and demise.
Smythe (b. 1984, Kingston, ON) received her MFA from the Alfred University School of Art and Design (NY). She is the winner of the 5790projects' 2013 Moore Family Trust Prize, through which this exhibition was made possible. Her work has been shown at the Arizona State University Art Museum (AZ) and the Gardiner Museum, Toronto (ON). She was the Visiting Artist in Residence at California State University, Long Beach (CA) from 2012-2014, where she continues to teach Ceramic Arts. The artist lives and works in Long Beach, CA.