22 Sep - 21 Nov 2015
Anj Smith's ‘Book Lab’ uncovers a selection of the artist's reference library and sources of inspiration. On display in two vitrines, the artist’s source materials, drawn directly from the studio, weave together diverse areas of interest including the natural sciences, jewellery, fashion and art historical genres including Mughal painting and the German Renaissance. The reference library selected by the artist features an equally extensive breadth ranging from classic works of literature by John Milton, Vladimir Nabokov and Virginia Woolf to seminal philosophical texts from Pierre Bourdieu, Judith Butler and Noam Chomsky. Plays and poetry also feature, namely ‘The Collected Poems of Wallace Stevens’ from which the neighbouring exhibition ‘Phosphor for Palms’ draws its title. The reference library presented on a low coffee table and a vintage library trolley offers the viewer an accessible space in which to explore and discover the work of the artist.
Anj Smith’s work negotiates the space between the genres of portraiture, landscape, and still-life. In her interrogation and celebration of the medium of painting, alluring flora and fauna—from vines, flowers, and ivy to ambiguous creatures and human figures—populate ecologically devastated landscapes. Refusing fast consumption, her work explores issues of gender, ecology, anxiety, and eroticism.