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Friday, February 25, 2011

then wonder why the fuck we thugs

In late 2010 the Open Source Gallery in Brooklyn was bust up by a fire in a neighbouring building, and most people figured that since the repair work would take 6 months or so, those behind the gallery would lose touch with modern art trends or take their fingers off the proverbial button for a while. However, earlier this year the gallery began displaying artwork again, albeit not actually inside the building.
Using the plywood currently covering the gallery space whilst the building is being repaired, the Open Source Gallery decided to "exist as a peripatetic operation", or as we know it, as an even more "open" gallery. To start the year Allison Read Smith's work is covering the plywood. Her series of drawings on police shooting-range targets titled "Thugs" is both humorous and thought-provoking - a super duper combo, riiiight?

On her work, Smith says "I have never found artist's statements particularly helpful. It seems a lot of 'my work' and 'i feel' and 'dualities' and 'embodiments' ad infinitum. I do, however love stories about why something was made or what in their youth, perhaps, it is reminiscent of. So, here we go... "I feel my work embodies dualities"."
I love her just from that statement. However, there is a reason behind her work. A few years ago Smith was attacked by a group, and whilst she wasn't hurt, she admits to being scared. As with many people attacked, shock means you can't remember much about your attacker, if anything, a stereotype of who you feel should have, or who you feel is most likely to have attacked you is all that remains. 
Smith's series takes the familiar image of a police shooting-range target (with the controversial image of a "stereotypical" gunman) and edits it to make the attacker comedic and less of the stereotype we all expect. Smith says her series is "an attempt to retrieve levity from fear. My thugs are mean or funny or sad or pitiful; they are good and bad all at once. They are the aggressor and the victim."
So, enjoy..

Visit the Open Source Gallery's website here... 

or more of Allison's work here...