Olivia Anne Smith

September 23 – October 20  2012

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Olivia Anne Smith’s Site Reading orbits like an electron. It is a purposeful toss in the dark hurtling towards a slippery nucleus. The project takes its cue from nonsensical and intuitive Dadaist sensibilities, automatic and blind contour drawing, as well as the minimalism of Process art. Its primary materials and actions come from conversational segues, physical inclinations, and dreams. This is the seemingly plain stuff of experience that leads to art-making – made evident here. At its core, Site Reading presents a skeletal narrative that revolves around the intersection of individual and shared experience.

“I throw an inked ball into the walls of a small, unlit room. I do this because I am allowed.
Word, image, and action are suddenly indistinguishable.

In the light the gesture is visible. It asks questions. It exposes patterns based on and
concerning the space made for art and its limits. My answer is yes.

For the opening performance of Site Reading, I will assemble a vocal performance
constructed from the drawing. By creating an arrangement based on a chance operation, I
attempt to ‘learn’ the conditions I have created.

Though this experience prevents immediate understanding, it will create a “situationally
literate” group who approach the drawing as something to be read and ask repetition to
facilitate understanding and shape experience.

In this case, a drawing is something to be done to a wall inside the site of display,
platform for performance, and exclusive container of art. A drawing is something to be
enacted through the ritual of facing a wall and by referencing the activity of reading wall
texts in museums and historical sites.

This exhibition investigates the questions: When does an object, mark, or gesture
become legible? At what point does our critical eye and ear determine our literacy? I am
interested in what comes “in through our eyes and out through our mouths,”specifically
when human perceptions, shared audibly, become judged as part of identity.”