Jeff Bailey Gallery is pleased to present Mike Peter Smith, Void Thoughts on Remote Time, an exhibition of new sculpture.
In detailed sculptures derived from the human skull, Smith elaborates on the idea of Memento mori; transforming it into a range of mythic apparitions, narrative landscapes and anthropological references to past, present and future.
In New York Spring, 2007, mixed media, two human skulls are joined, forming one large head with three eye sockets. A toad hugs the nose cavity at the left, and a violet grows from the right socket. Raccoon and duck skulls are part of this strange grouping. Life has passed from the mammals and fowl, and their function and place in the time-line of history is not clear, yet the toad and violet are evidence of nature’s continuous process of renewal.
Australopithecus sp. (Hand to Mouth), 2007, mixed media, is based on “Lucy”, the most complete female Australopithecus skeleton found, and about 3.2 million years old. Smith presents his own Australopithecus reconstruction, depicting the skeletal remains of her jaw, shoulder and arm. Installed on the wall like a natural history museum specimen, the pose is reminiscent of Bruce Nauman’s From Hand to Mouth, 1967. The Nauman sculpture depicts part of the female body still covered in flesh, and literally brings attention to both the hand and mouth. Smith’s sculpture of bones focuses on the skeletal remains, dangling and lifeless.
The exhibition includes flying pterosaurs, circling overhead. Miniature battleships loom on the horizon. Palm trees grow from unlikely sources. Dark pools of water reflect ancient caves. In Smith’s world of dry bone and outdated industrial relics, the water still flows and the clock keeps ticking.
This is Mike Peter Smith’s second solo exhibition at the gallery. Previous solo exhibitions include Ambrosino Gallery, Miami and Bodybuilder and Sportsman Gallery, Chicago. His sculptures have been included in group exhibitions at Art In General, The Bronx Museum of Arts, Exit Art, Lehmann Maupin Gallery and the Queens Museum of Art. He received his MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and his BFA from The University of Utah. He lives and works in New York.