Thursday, June 18, 2009

Kiki Smith ~ Saint Genevieve

Want to hear wolves in the city? Take a trip to the Portland Art Museum. Go early before the crowds. Head to the fourth floor of the Jubitz Center for Modern and Contemporary Art. Exit the elevator and head straight east. You'll soon be walking by wolves, keep walking and go past the female figure staring out at you, and then listen carefully. There it is the sound of howling, baying. What you're hearing are wolves making wolf noises for you as you look back at the woman who is standing confident and listening to the wolves herself.

Made in 1999 by Kiki Smith, this representation of Saint Genevieve, the patron saint of Paris, is a print on Nepalese paper. It is part of a series Smith did in the nineties as she explored Saint Genevieve and the relations between humans and animals. By including sound, she has enriched our experience as we examine the wolves, the birds and this embodiment of feminism. When the other sounds from the floor are silent this work of art is haunting.

Kiki Smith lives in New York, was raised in New Jersey and was born in 1954 in Nuremberg, Germany. She is the daughter of American sculptor Tony Smith. The week promises to be an interesting one as we explore her life and work.


Patricia said...

When I looked at this image, I saw two wolves preparing to leave the scene with what look like hawks hovering over them. It's as if the wolves and the woman have reached a pact on who does what. What role do the hawks play?

The image for June 19 is different though almost as if it preceded the image for June 18 in an unfolding story. The woman is addressing the wolf. Where's the other wolf? What are the hawks up to lined up in that regimental order?

LaValle Linn said...

This work is no longer on display