Shinique Smith for a hoarder. That's because her painting and sculptural installation practice involves a constant hobby of collecting and saving the clothing, personal effects, self-cannibalized studio art, photographs and other non-garbage debris of human existence. She then reformulates these masses of raw material into richly detailed, colorful, poetically abstract and surreal works of art. Poignant on a personal level, garnering empathy for the fleeting nature of life in a what-we-leave-behind sort of way, the works also speak to societal inequities of wealth, consumption and disposability. Like soft-sculpture archeology, her constructed layers, bundles and arrays are available for a plurality of interpretation. In conjunction with her current solo exhibition at CAAM, "Refuge," is on view through Sept. 9, Smith is interviewed by Hamza Walker, esteemed curator and director of LAXART. Because there's a lot to unpack here.
If she weren't such a gifted visual artist, you might mistake