ABOUT THE SESSION
An artist talk by Kara Hearn and Barb Smith, in conjunction with their exhibition ‘Present Perfect Continuous’, currently on view at Grizzly Grizzly through February 2.
Present Perfect Continuous explores themes of comfort and discomfort, impermanence and duration, and ritual and care. Hearn’s videos and Smith’s sculptures play with the materiality of the human body, intimating the task of self-care as a process without end, especially in these volatile political times.
Using improvised rituals, deadpan humor, and empathy Kara Hearn’s work attempts to manage the vulnerability, awkwardness, and discomfort of being alive. Drawn to coping mechanisms that offer symbolic and/or psychological comfort to their practitioners, she maintains a tone of ambivalence to convey the notion that while these practices may be effective, they might also fall short. In doing so, Hearn’s videos and performances teeter between futility and agency, doubt and hope. Hearn is creating new video work for Grizzly Grizzly.
Barb Smith’s practice spans image making, video and sculpture. Her work explores the corporeal, psychological and social impacts of carrying personal and inherited stories of trauma and healing. Included at Grizzly are a series of sculptures depicting fossilized impressions of the human body, ceramic vessels shaped by her daily rituals and a cast silicone enclosure bearing the weight of a cannon ball mortar and unfired porcelain clay. Collectively her handmade and found objects are about process and language, with Smith’s actions often being determined by the words used to describe the material itself.
Kara Hearn resides in Brooklyn, NY and Barb Smith resides in Queens, NY.
Brooklyn-based artist Kara Hearn works within the realms of video, performance, drawing, and social engagement, mining these artforms for their increased sense of immediacy and spontaneity. Hearn’s work has been screened, exhibited, and performed at MoMA, SFMOMA, The Bluecoat Gallery, ARQUIPÉLAGO Contemporary Art Center, Dallas Medianale, DiverseWorks, New Orleans Museum of Art, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, White Columns, Berkeley Art Museum, and Walker Art Center. Her work was featured in the book Double Act: Art and Comedy and has been selected twice as a “critic’s picks” on Artforum.com. Hearn has completed residencies at the Core Program in Houston and at Recess, EFA Project Space, and Wassaic Project in New York. She received an MFA from UC Berkeley, an MA from San Francisco State and a BA from UC Santa Cruz.
Barb Smith is a Queens-based artist born in Kokomo, Indiana. She holds an MFA in Sculpture from Bard College. Her work invites reflection on one’s relationship to the material world by mining the tension between seeing, touching, and recalling. Solo exhibitions include Mother Tongue at the Fine Arts Center Gallery, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, AR; Gravity Forgiveness at Stepsister, NY, NY; Cup at 315 Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Strike-Slip at Páramo, Guadalajara, Mexico; Unexpired Time at the Mesa Contemporary Arts Museum, Mesa, Arizona; and Apperception at Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana. Recent group exhibitions include The Space Itself, The Boiler Pierogi, Brooklyn, NY; the Invitational Exhibition of Visual Arts, American Academy of Arts and Letters, New York; In Practice: Material Deviance, SculptureCenter, New York; Queens International, Queens Museum, New York; Blue Jean Baby, September, Hudson, New York; and It/Ego, Brennan & Griffin, New York. Smith was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship in Sculpture in 2011 and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2012. Her writing has been featured in The Shawangunk Review, No, Dear magazine, The Saint Lucy, Makhzin, and The Brooklyn Rail.