Emily Mae Smith / MATRIX 181
February 7 – May 5, 2019
With a nod to distinct painting movements in the history of art, such as Symbolism, Surrealism, and Pop art, Emily Mae Smith creates lively compositions that offer sly social and political commentary. Her lexicon of signs and symbols begins with her avatar, derived from the broomstick figure from Disney’s Fantasia (1940). Simultaneously referring to a painter’s brush, a domestic tool associated with women’s work, and the phallus, the figure continually transforms across Smith’s body of work. By adopting a variety of guises, the broom and other symbols speak to contemporary subjects, including gender, sexuality, capitalism, and violence.
MATRIX 181 is Smith’s first solo museum exhibition in the United States.
Inaugurated in 1975, MATRIX is the Wadsworth’s groundbreaking contemporary art exhibition series featuring works by artists from around the world. Many MATRIX artists, such as Christo, Sol LeWitt, Gerhard Richter, Cindy Sherman, Andy Warhol, and Carrie Mae Weems are now considered seminal figures in contemporary art.
Feb. 7, 5-8pm | Art After Dark: Color My World
Feb. 7, 6pm | Gallery Talk: Emily Mae Smith / MATRIX 181
Mar. 9 | Encounters: Emily Mae Smith and #MeToo
Mar. 21 | Gallery Talk: Emily Mae Smith / MATRIX 181
The MATRIX program is generously supported by the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Contemporary Coalition.
Sustaining support for the Wadsworth Atheneum provided by Newman’s Own Foundation and the Greater Hartford Arts Council’s United Arts Campaign.
Images courtesy of the artist and Simone Subal Gallery, New York: (Left) Emily Mae Smith, Still Life, 2015. Oil on linen. Private collection. Photo: Charles Benton; (Center) Emily Mae Smith, The Drawing Room, 2018. Oil on linen. Private collection. Photo: Dario Lasagni; (Right) Emily Mae Smith, Unruly Thread, 2019. Oil on linen. Photo: Charles Benton.