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Rowan's Group: Artist Research by Keit Osadchuk

Kiki Smith is an American artist well-known for her sculpture, prints, installations, and a variety of other media work. Most of her art work deals with the topics of women, birth, regeneration, and political events of the time, with surfacing Catholic motifs. A sense of detailed intimacy and use of the body figure is key in Smith's work, gaining her much critical acclaim since the 1980s. Her work also extends to a great collection of self-portraits, screen printed clothing, and unconventional representations of fairy-tales.

Smith is largely inspired by various social issues such as race, violence against women, and AIDS. Most of her work is a deeper insight into social issues as personal issues, giving detail to the individual as a part of a whole. In a way, Smith motivates the viewer to pay more attention and be moved by issues of each subject that she either draws, sculpts or somehow presents; her evocative style propels her art work even further.

To contrast Smith's portrayal of women to that of Neshat, Smith translates more frailty and vulnerability in her work, even though the two artists' themes are eventually related. Neshat's women, on the other hand, strive for bravery and resistance. In a way, Smith's portrayal is more factual, descriptive, and heavy, whereas Neshat glorifies her own perception, even though it may not be as current or factual to the reality. The physical difference between the two artists is also their choice of media; Smith's published work is mostly hand-made prints, sculpture, or painting, whereas Neshat uses photography, film, and installation as her main media.

Kiki Smith would be a great artist to explore because of her innovation, unconventional perspectives and products, and level of skill and detail. Her work is as real and tangible as the issues with which it deals, and for that I have tremendous respect and admiration.

sources:
http://www.pbs.org/art21/artists/smith/
http://www.moma.org/interactives/exhibitions/2003/kikismith/
Kiki Smith: The Venice Story by Vivien Bittencourt & Vincent Katz