Springboard for the Arts is welcoming Rosalie Smith, their newest Hinge Arts resident artist from New Orleans. Smith is a multimedia artist who was born in Blacksburg, Virginia and attended Smith College where she earned her B.A. in studio art and landscape studies. She’ll be in Fergus Falls until May 4 and has already found great interest in the Kirkbride, which fits into a theme that has recently emerged in her work which she describes as, “Temporality and the human struggle to make things permanent.”
Her mother, a gardener, landscaper and lover of plants has really influenced Smith’s work since her passing. Her most recent show, titled “My Mother’s Last Garden,” which just closed on April 17 in New Orleans, is made of resin-coated flowers mounted in cement. The flowers were given to her mother after she was diagnosed with terminal cancer spanning to her death and is intended “to represent the solitude of grief while representing it as an experience that unites us all.”
In addition to the preservation of real flowers, Smith has also worked with fake flowers collected from graveyards in New Orleans, as well as light and shadow (“My Mother’s Last Garden” was only open during golden hour each day, to give visitors the opportunity to see how the shadows play over the flowers and the ground) and the use of light-sensitive inks, paint, handmade paper and video, and has expressed an interest in recording the sound of snow melting here in Fergus Falls to incorporate into her work. Some of her pieces use ripped up medical documents and textures from her mother’s radiation mask along with lines of poetry.
Poetry is embedded in Smith’s work, both overtly when she includes words in her pieces, but also subtly in the decisions she makes during the creative process. Unfortunately she’s given up writing as much poetry lately, explaining, “My mother was a poet and she was my primary reader. In some ways I’m more inspired to write, but in some ways some of the joy is taken away when you lose someone who is that creatively aligned with you.”
Poetry lives on in Smith’s work, though. “My whole practice is based around searching for materials and techniques that are metaphorical of what I’m trying to express, materials that can tell a beautiful and succinct story,” she says. “My practice sometimes feels like material poetry in a lot of ways.”
Smith’s exhibition will take place at the beginning of May. She’s previously had shows in Iceland, New York, New Orleans and Massachusetts. She did a residency at Nes Artist Residency in Skargastrond, Iceland and just completed her position as teaching artist in residence at Snow Farm Craft School in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.