Because the mountain grass
Cannot but keep the form
Where the mountain hare has lain
– From Memory, by W.B. Yeats
The Perimeter presents Anj Smith: Where the Mountain Hare has Lain, an exhibition featuring new works, as well as works from the collection of Alexander V. Petalas. This marks the first solo presentation of the artist’s work in London since 2015.
Anj Smith remarks that Where the Mountain Hare has Lain resists the idea of “fast-paced consumption that feels increasingly consequential”. As such, the exhibition consists of a pared back selection of eight paintings and two etchings, providing viewers with the space to slow down and contemplate the works.
Smith further explains that “time spent with these works will reveal imagery imperceivable from afar” and how they are positioned “to engage in a questioning of certainties, rejecting a literalism that shuts down nuance”. Sensuous and complex, these works refuse to fit within the logic of a single narrative, conventions of genre or interpretive certainty, subverting codes and languages of the past in order to examine their exclusions. Ecological anxiety, liminal psychological states and a centring of alterity are investigated in a navigation of the instabilities and uncertainties of our current moment.
New works on show include a depiction of violet carpenter bees named ‘Decoy’ (2022), a title which alludes to the multiple meanings of the word all pointing to the idea of entrapment, deceit or distraction. Also included is ‘Misleading Like Lace’ (2022), a work inspired by Marilyn Moore’s 1924 poem ‘An Octopus’ which reflects on the perplexing conundrum that is the octopus, representing the indescribable and by extension, the complexity of all things. For Smith, the Octopus imagery evolved from thinking about erotica, subversion, and subjectivity.
For the first time, The Perimeter has invited a spatial designer, Robert Storey, to transform the space by creating a meditative landscape for Smith’s intricate paintings to unfurl within and allow visitors a moment of total immersion into the artist’s universe.
Born in 1978 in Kent, UK, Anj Smith studied at Slade School of Fine Art and at Goldsmiths College in London. Smith has exhibited at institutions around the world, including Museo Stefano Bardini, Florence, Italy; The New Art Gallery Walsall, UK; Mostyn, Llandudno, UK; Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland; Bluecoat, Liverpool, UK; Knoxville Museum of Art, Knoxville TN, and La Maison Rouge, Paris, France.
Smith’s work is also displayed in the collections of many leading international museums including The Victoria and Albert Museum, London; MOCA The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles CA; The Roberts Institute of Art, London, and the Sara Hildén Art Museum, Tampere, Finland.
Courtesy of the artist and The Perimeter, London