From 3 February to 11 March 2017 Ausma Šmite’s personal exhibition I Lack Nothing will be on display in the Upper Gallery of the Mūkusala Art Salon.
Ausma Šmite had a brilliant debut in 2012 with her solo exhibition Heart of Steel in Gallery 21. Her technically perfect lithographs with images of imaginary creatures – mutants struck with their realism, dismantling the boundary between reality and fiction. Anatomical studies of skeletons and bodies of these fantastical creatures resembled the aesthetics of biology books and gave the impression of a previously unknown world discovered by the artist and now presented as physical evidence. While in popular culture such human-animal mutations are often malign, in Ausma Šmites works they were shown as strange but harmless creatures that attract attention without being repulsive.
The game with elements of reality and fiction continued in the installation Lonely Man (2012), together with Elīza Ceske-Feldmane creating a more complex work, consisting of lithographs, an object and a series of photos. It spoke of time after the end of history, when the Earth is inhabited by a human-animal crossbreed without memory and perception of its origin. The work was a witty reflection of the apocalyptic visions of the end of the world widely popular in visual culture.
Exhibition I Lack Nothing is a logical continuation of Ausma Šmite's familiar motifs. It presents several bodies of work, which are brought together by a minimalism of form. Along with masterful lithographs, the artist has taken an experimental approach, also presenting acrylic marker and rapidograph drawings on plywood. Here the familiar imaginary creatures take the shape of technological forms – freight cranes and scaffolding become likeable beings. Yet these are no longer anatomic studies of creatures living in a parallel world, since works and techniques represent human emotions – Self-criticism is armed with pliers while Curiosity has hands in the shape of magnifying glasses. A separate theme in the exhibition is memories and ways of visualising a part without losing a sense of the whole. They show associative surfaces of planets whose solidifications or reservoirs contain the world of past experiences.
Ausma Šmite (1986; www.ausmasmite.com) graduated from the Department of Graphic Art of the Faculty of Visual Arts at the Art Academy of Latvia (2011). She has held solo exhibitions in Riga (2012, Gallery 21), as well as in Tartu, Estonia (2015, Tartu Art House) and Tokyo (2016, Gallery Aoneko). Regularly takes part in international group exhibitions as well as symposia and residencies.
Curator of the exhibition: Līga Lindenbauma
Press image: Ausma Šmite. Crane. 2016. Drawing on plywood. 50 x 64 cm. Courtesy of the artist. Photo: Didzis Grodzs.