Smith's work is an expansive and process-based textile practice that includes objects, installations, and sculptures that push traditional art and craft mediums to new territories and speculative worlds. In (re)Play, he continues exploring playfully constructed environments, creating other-worldly bodies and internal and external landscapes that border on abstraction. Smith forms complex and layered collages using textiles, photography, soft sculpture, embroidery, tufting, painting, and other art and craft practices. He also invites visitors to participate by physically interacting with certain pieces: for example, sliding colorful translucent textile collages along taught wires to alter the architecture, light, and aesthetic tone of the space. By using these objects to construct ephemeral environments, Smith invites the viewer to build a dialogue around fictional habitats as a way to re-imagine our relation to identity, gender, biology, ecology, psychological health, problem-solving, memory, and the joy of improvisation and play.
Smith says, "During the pandemic, we were separated from communal spaces and lost connection to each other, to our somatic experience, and the practice of interaction and improvisation. By re-introducing my earlier interactive installations, visitors are encouraged to come out of their shells and rediscover their joy and curiosity and through presenting my intricate collages, soft sculptures, and photographic weavings, I want to share my vulnerability and creativity by offering a visual, communal meeting place for others to explore theirs."
Besides the ideas of play, the exhibition offers a meeting place between disciplines such as textile art, psychology, biology, and gender studies. Objects on display make space for visitors to explore not only the art but themselves; and their actions and intentions. Smith elaborates, "The process of my work is central to its meaning. I begin by having emotionally resonant images from digital collective memory woven into a fabric, which I then use to create work composed of beings and phenomena from imagined other worlds. This process of re-interpreting narratives and offering what's possible will lead to an exhibition that invites viewers into this layered and unique process - potentially sparking them to consider their own creative practices, whether they be art or in any other discipline."
About the Artist
David Benjamin Smith (b. Washington, DC) is a multidisciplinary artist and third-generation immigrant of Ashkenazic descent who lives in Lenapehoking (Brooklyn, NY) and holds an MFA from Bard College. He was awarded a 2020 NYSCA/NYFA Fellowship in Craft/Sculpture and residencies with Apex Art, New Zealand; Franconia Sculpture Park, Minnesota; Marble House Project, Vermont; I-Park, Connecticut; Textile Arts Center, Socrates Sculpture Park, Millay Arts, Alfred University, and the BOFFO residency, in New York. Smith's work has appeared in exhibitions at MoMA PS1, The International Center of Photography, Johannes Vogt Gallery, Museum Rijswijk, Asia Song Society, with solo shows at Geary Contemporary, Planthouse, Spring Break Art / Show, Halsey McKay Gallery in New York, and David B. Smith Gallery in Denver, CO (a different David B. Smith). Another World: The Textile Art of David B. Smith was on view in 2020-21 at Millersville University in Lancaster, PA, and SUNY Old Westbury in Long Island, NY.His work is in the collections of Peggy Cooper Cafritz, Beth Rudin DeWoody, and Yale University and has been discussed in The Observer, VICE, Time Out, The Washington Post, and the New York Times.
Supporting programming in both virtual and in-person formats will accompany (re)Play and works from Smith's earlier exhibitions, Forms of Potential, on display in the Hallway Gallery. Events will include artist's talks, documentary screenings, and presentations that contribute additional perspectives on the exhibition content. All programs are open to the campus community students and the public free of charge.
The audience will have an opportunity to interact with the artist at the virtual Artist's Talk: (re)Play, on January 31 at 5:00 p.m. Smith will talk about his creative practice and inspiration for the exhibition and address questions from the visitors.
Watch the Talk
Additionally, Smith will visit the campus for a walkthrough of the exhibition on Monday, February 13, and facilitate an Artist's Workshop, where students and participants will gather in the Fiber Studio, room 101, to complete a collaborative work that starts with Smith's building of a simple, small wooden frame in the shape of a house. This open-ended symbol will encourage reflections on themes in a session that Smith hopes will be "a moving meditation on home, imagination, connection, community, labor, boundaries, layering, improvisation, and intention." Participants may bring an item of clothing or leftover fabric to be cut into strips and woven into the sculpture, which will utilize fibers, textiles, collage, mixed media, sculpture, and improvisational weaving. The resulting work will become an interactive part of the (re)Play exhibition, with all participants credited as co-creators of the piece.
On Wednesday, February 8, Dr. Erin Morris, an Associate Professor in the Sport Management program at SUNY Cortland, will present an in-person talk, Between Sport and Art: Gender Biases at Play. In this in-person talk, she explores the intersections of fine art and sport through the lens of gender inequality. She will discuss how two fields that are rarely considered in the same context have many parallels, particularly when it comes to issues of gender biases and inclusive practices (or lack thereof). Throughout the talk, she will examine how socially assigned gender roles are reinforced within sports and art and how we can possibly break down some of those walls.
Watch the Talk
The program will conclude with a virtual presentation titled Artist, the Player, scheduled for Monday, February 20. Katarzyna Zimna Ph.D., associate professor of art at Lodz University of Technology, Poland, prepared a talk based on her doctoral research and topical interests as an artist and maker. She will touch on the idea, activity, and strategy or tactics of play that frequently permeate disparate contemporary art practices, especially process-oriented art productions. Zimna adds, "Being playful seems to be a catchphrase, meaning creative, innovative, and experimental. This talk will briefly explore the reasons for the popularity of the notion of play in the art world, its theoretical context, as well as its particular manifestations that can be traced in the history of art, including the most recent examples."
Watch the Talk
Dr. Erin Morris is an Associate Professor in the Sport Management Department at the State University of New York at Cortland. Dr. Morris’ main area of research focuses on women and girls’ participation in sport and recreation. She is particularly interested in participating in non-traditional sports such as women’s ice hockey, rugby, and roller derby. Additionally, Dr. Morris has served as the Co-Chair of the Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Expression (SOGIE) Committee at Cortland for the past four years. In this role, she has helped implement multiple initiatives to make Cortland’s campus more welcoming to LGBTQIAP+ students, faculty, and staff. These initiatives have included a campus-wide Pronoun Training, a Rainbow Reception, and TransAction – a 1-day conference around issues concerning Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming individuals on college campuses. In her free time, Dr. Morris likes to play ice hockey, hike, bike, sew, and bake.
SUNY Cortland’s 5th annual TransAction Conference: RedDragonNetwork.org/TransAction
Katarzyna Zimna, Ph.D., is a visual artist and researcher living and working in Lodz, Poland. Graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Lodz, Faculty of Graphic Art and Painting (2002), and Faculty of Visual Education (2004). She obtained her Ph.D. from the School of Art and Design, Loughborough University, UK, in 2010. Habilitation in fine arts in 2019. Author of the book: Time to Play: Action and Interaction in Contemporary Art (I.B. Tauris 2014/ Bloomsbury 2020). Her research focuses on the role of play/game as a concept in art theory and philosophy and as a model for artistic creation in modern and postmodern art. She is an active participant in numerous national and international exhibitions. She explores intersections of aesthetics and everyday life using the medium of print as a primary conceptual tool. Her practice also includes textile and object art as well as projects with the participation of the viewers. Works as an associate professor at the Institute of Architecture of Textiles at the Lodz University of Technology.
Dowd Fine Arts Center, Room 106,
48 Graham Avenue and Prospect Terrace Cortland, NY 13045
Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri: 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
Thr: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m.
Walk-ins are welcome. You may also schedule a visit.
The gallery is closed when the College is not in session