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Alexandria Smith
Brooklyn, NY
Neighborhood: Bedford-Stuyvesant



ARTIST STATEMENT: Chronicling the experience of being an African American middle-class girl in present day society is the point of focus of my artwork. Working through the discipline of drawing and painting, I have created works that explore the theme of cultural and sexual identity through the lens of childhood and adolescence. These emotive, visually alluring pictures depict scenes of young girls engaging in play that borders between sexual experimentation and innocence. By honing in on the right moment and the in-betweens, enough information is provided to create a narrative and engagement with the viewer. This level of engagement is utilized to great effect but also aims to push a psychological agenda. The interactions of these girls within a middle class suburban home investigate the origins and manifestations of race and social taboo through an adolescent lens. Another body of work that is developing takes the loosely autobiographical character of “Marjorie”, and thrusts her into a world somewhere between the mythical and the real. Through an intuitive approach I create small pen and ink and large scale Conte crayon drawings. Marjorie navigates a banal, minimalist world as a “coming of age” metaphor in an attempt to discover home, womanhood and racial understanding. This explicit and implied narrative speaks to a larger story of the struggle towards understanding identity, cultural history, sexuality and surviving psychic trauma. Marjorie emerges from the two dimensional constraints of paper in a performance on a NYC playground. This narrative speaks to a larger story of the struggle towards womanhood and racial understanding, cultural alienation and surviving psychic trauma. Through this performance, Marjorie confronts the “real” world in search of home to determine a connection between place and memory. Inspired by the characterization of Claymation and cartoons, the history of illustration and painting and memories of my own life, these works probe into the idealized versions of childhood. The burden of realism is thwarted in these works by embracing the once dehumanized and outcast “others” and placing them in real, yet taboo situations.
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  • First Communion
    8/10
    oil on panel

  • The Words Don't Fit In My Mouth
    8/11
    acrylic on panel

  • Say Aaaah
    8/11
    acrylic on panel

  • The Sweet Hereafter
    5/10
    oil on panel

  • Wayward Delight
    4/11
    oil on panel

  • When Chickens Come Home To Roost
    8/11
    acrylic on panel

  • Sunday School
    4/10
    oil on panel

  • Not No Way, Not No How
    2/10
    oil on panel

  • sandbox ("rememory" performance)
    5/10
    digital photograph

  • climbing ("rememory" performance)
    5/10
    digital photograph

  • viewfinder ("rememory" performance)
    5/10
    digital photograph

  • the swinging ("rememory" performance)
    5/10
    digital photograph

  • swing lo, swing hi
    3/11
    charcoal/Conte crayon on kraft paper

  • dreamcatcher
    2/11
    charcoal/Conte crayon on kraft paper

  • well wisher
    3/11
    charcoal/Conte crayon on kraft paper

  • untitled histories
    4/11
    charcoal/Conte crayon on kraft paper

  • sneak
    2011
    pen and ink on kraft paper

  • shadow dweller
    2011
    pen and ink on kraft paper

  • ribbon tears
    2009
    pen and ink on kraft paper

  • I used to be but now... (drawing installation)
    2011
    pen and ink on kraft paper
 








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