The exhibit Change of State features the work of Salt Lake City artist Jill Saxton Smith in USU Eastern’s Gallery East showing October 5-29.
Smith is a Salt Lake City-based artist who lived and worked as an artist internationally for 15 years. She earned an MFA from Emily Carr University of Arts and Design in Vancouver, Canada.
Her experience while living in the United States, Egypt, Zimbabwe and Guatemala gave her unique opportunities and insights that impacted and enriched her artwork and career as a studio artist.
The exhibit – a series of portraits – incorporates traditional methods and materials with raw, atypical materials to underscore the transformative theme of her portraiture.
A Change of State, she says, is a physical process where matter moves from one state to another.
“The work is meant to create parallels between these physical processes of the material world to the seismic events and experiences that have deeply transformed the people around me,” she says. “I combine traditional portraiture with my intuitive use of unconventional materials to speak to an emotional world or hidden narrative behind each individual.”
Smith’s interdisciplinary work calls attention to the felt experiences, both physiological and psychological, that comprise and shape our being-in-the-world. Her work focuses on material explorations, pushing them to their limits. She combines traditional portraiture with unconventional raw materials and lets physical experimentation lead to a process-based practice.
In the studio, she follows the trajectories of chemical reactions, stains and physical force on her materials. She explores themes such as comfort, dislocation, motherhood, detachment and the process of healing.
Her investigation concerns whether these emotions and inner experiences can be transferred and embodied in the intuitive processes and simple materials she draws on to create her work.
Smith’s work is displayed internationally on three continents, including at The National Gallery of Zimbabwe. She has given lectures, taught workshops and demonstrated her art as a visiting artist to schools and organizations with a special interest in underprivileged and disabled artists.
USU Eastern’s Gallery East is located in the Central Instruction Building and its exhibits are free and open to the public during the academic year from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s closed weekends and holidays. The gallery observes COVID-19 precautions, including face coverings and a limit of 10 people in the gallery at one time.
The reception is Oct. 8 from 6-8 p.m.