OH: Akron

WHERE: Akron Art Museum

WHEN: On 2012 view

BRIEF ABOUT: In the Sandra L. and Dennis B. Haslinger Family Foundation Galleries, recent museum purchases by contemporary artists Kiki Smith and Trenton Doyle Hancock. Along with other works,this installation of these new acquisitions  on view for the first time, also brings a near-total makeover of galleries devoted to the theme of “Interior Landscapes.”

MORE DETAILS: Call 330.376.9185 or www.akronartmuseum.org.

“Seer” (Alice I) by Kiki Smith, 2005, white auto body paint on bronze, 63 1/2 in. x 72 in. x 41 in.

     Kiki Smith (b. 1954) was born in Germany and grew up in New Jersey, is the daughter of American minimalist sculptor Tony Smith and actress and opera singer Jane Lawrence Smith.    

     Childhood experiences heavily influence her work. Helping her father make cardboard models for his geometric sculptures provided early artist training and her experience as a learning disabled child in school motivates her to create work accessible to her audiences.    

     Best known for sculptures, Smith has produced a myriad of works in other media such as prints, installations and drawings. Her work has been admired for its highly developed, yet sometimes unsettling, sense of intimacy in its timely political and social provocations. Such traits have brought her critical success.    

     Often considered a feminist artist, Smith’s work touches on a wide range of issues surrounding the human condition. Raised by religious parents, her mother was a converted Hindu and Catholic and her father was raised by Jesuits; Smith describes herself as spiritual.    

     There are underlying themes of devotion, religion, repetition and spirituality in her work, whether in reference to her own spirituality or the spirituality of other cultures and their history. Life, death and resurrection are themes represented in her sculptures in which she often portrays the female body as a receptacle for knowledge and storytelling. Recently she has been inspired by images of women and animals in folklore, mythology and fairy tales.    

     Smith has participated in three Whitney Biennials and her work is included in such prestigious museum collections as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, among others.    

     In 2005, Smith was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters. She lives and works in New York City.

“Holed My Hand” by Trenton Doyle Hancock, 2010, acrylic and mixed media on paper, 98 3/4 in. x 133 in. x 3 1/2 in.

     Trenton Doyle Hancock (b. 1974) was raised in Paris, Texas, earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Texas A&M University and a Master of Fine Arts from the Tyler School of Fine Art at Temple University in Philadelphia.    

     For over a decade, Hancock has developed a dramatic narrative featuring a cast of characters who populate a wildly fantastic, invented landscape. His prints, drawings and collaged-felt paintings work together to tell the saga of the Mounds; a group of mythical, half-animal, half-plant creatures that are the tragic protagonists of the artist’s unfolding narrative as they defend themselves against the evil, underground Vegans.    

     Influenced by the history of painting, especially Abstract Expressionism, Hancock transforms traditionally formal decisions, such as the use of color, language and pattern into opportunities to create new characters, develop sub-plots and convey symbolic meaning. His paintings often rework Biblical stories that he learned as a child, balancing moral dilemmas with wit and a musical sense of language and color. His work also bears evidence of influences ranging from comics, graphic novels, cartoons, 1970s and 1980s music, and a variety of film and painting traditions.    

     Hancock has exhibited his work nationally and internationally, participating in two Whitney Biennials, one of the youngest artists in history to partake in this prestigious survey, as well as at the Lyon and Istanbul Biennials. He has had solo exhibitions at the Cleveland Museum of Art, The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston and the Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh. His work is included in such museum collections as that of Museum of Modern Art, New York; Brooklyn Museum, New York and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.    

     The recipient of numerous awards, Hancock lives and works in Houston, where he was a 2002 Core Artist in Residence at the Glassell School of Art of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.


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