Halsey McKay Gallery presents Soft Bodies, David B. Smith’s third solo exhibition with the gallery.
Smith’s four new works blur the line between textiles, photographs and paintings, highlighting the interplay between digital and handmade craft. Slow and meditative, the pieces pay tribute to craftspeople like Smith’s grandmothers, whose domestic and ceremonial craft tradition was passed down through generations and contributed to their lives and communities. Smith’s works also continue his inquiry into how our physical bodies are relating to the digital world in the midst of intense technological and social change.
Each of the vibrant, hand-embroidered tapestries features a semi-abstracted photographic image of a body or face, interwoven with a network of threads that suggest a layer of information unseen by the human eye. The bodies depicted are personal yet detached; a barely recognizable self portrait, a generic body collaged into one of Smith’s organic sculptural installations, a digital video game character he encountered, and a screenshot of Mark Zuckerberg during his senate hearing; complete with a mask-like grid overlay of AI emotion-analyzing software. Each scenario suggests a myriad of ideas such as ethical responsibility, economic structures, psychological, communal, and ecological wellness, digital entertainment and pleasure, artificial intelligence, and the threats and promises related to social media and immersive digital worlds.
David B. Smith (b. 1977, Washington D.C.) has been awarded residencies by Apex Art, New Zealand, Socrates Sculpture Park, The Art and Law Program, BOFFO, and Waterpod, NY; Franconia Sculpture Park, MN; Marble House Project, VT; and Harold Arts, OH. He has exhibited at MoMa PS1, The International Center of Photography, Asia Song Society, Johannes Vogt Gallery, and 56 Henry Gallery, with solo shows at Halsey McKay Gallery, Planthouse Gallery, The Spring Break Art Show and LMAK Gallery. His work has been discussed in the New York Times, The Observer, Art Fag City, Textile Plus, Fanzine, The Washington Post, Miami New Times and others. His work is in the collection of The Beinecke Library at Yale University, Peggy Cooper Caftritz, and other prominent private collections. He received his MFA from Bard College and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.Courtesy of the artist and Halsey McKay Gallery, East Hampton