Shinique Smith’s art has been described in many ways: ethereal, unique, and enticing. But, the most revealing definition is how she represents her art, which she defines as “the graceful and spiritual qualities of the written word and the everyday.” Her art has landed in Miami for the months of October and November in the iconic David Castillo Gallery. The exhibition called “Stargazing” is the gallery’s fifth solo exhibition, and it showcases Shinique’s unique juxtaposition of objects and forms.
This installation has unique pieces that you will not find anywhere else, as Shinique Smith created exclusive art to be displayed in the Miami art gallery. Some of her stunning pieces include And, she wept miracles which she painted in 2020—a beautiful acrylic on canvas with pink and yellow colorful swirls of paint. You can also find Working Loose which has a stunning juxtaposition of ink and acrylic with Shinique’s unique addition of different fabric and collage pieces. She also includes mostly black paint with strokes of purple that make the piece come alive in front of your eyes.
At first glance, you can observe the artist’s expertise, however when you glance deeper into the artist’s lens, you realize how incredibly unique the message behind the strokes really is. The deep lesson that Shinique tries to represent across her variety of mediums is her personal inner world. The artist is bringing the audience into her mind, giving us a glimpse of who she is not only on the outside but also internally. Most of the pieces touch on the theme of collective consciousness, which can be observed in the interconnectivity of her strokes and the similarities between the pieces. Shinique represents not only herself, but her viewers and the human population in general.
One of the most interesting things you’ll learn about Shinique is that sometimes she paints her canvases blindfolded. She does this to really find a connection between the canvas and her paintbrush. By not paying attention to details or the pressure of what she wants the piece to look like, she can really tune into her subconscious and let her inspiration flow freely. These pieces are more than her ideas, they represent what goes beyond the conscious level of the artist. The connections that she creates are all based on a spiritual type of connection between her memory and her real talent.
Another recurring element in her art is the image of the body. This prevailing image is showcased by some of the artist's sculptures in which she utilizes pieces of textiles. These textiles are Shinique’s way of demonstrating the connection between the past and the present of generations. The David Castillo Gallery discussed the physical tidbits that Shinique adds to her canvases and state that “the body and its scale in Smith’s works are present by its absence in the once-owned clothes and personal effects embedded within her pieces.” These pieces presented in “Stargazing” bring histories of human interconnection and the inner mind to the eyes of new spectators. The main themes discuss the body’s capabilities of persevering, and transforming, and the strength that it has.
Although this solo exhibit is new to the David Castillo Gallery, Shinique Smith is not new to the art scene. Her work has been presented in exhibitions across the United States, including The Baltimore Museum of Art, The Brooklyn Museum, The Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and among other incredible art museums that recognize her talent and unique art form. Shinique has also been the recipient of numerous accolades, including the Tiffany Prize and the Academy of Arts + Letter Purchase Prize.
The David Castillo Gallery was honored to present Shinique’s pieces. The 2008 winner of the “Best Gallery” title in the Miami New Times opened in 2005 by David Castillo. The art gallery is located in the sunny streets of Miami Beach. It is a staple among art fans during the Art Basel festival and the Armory Show. David Castillo’s Gallery has been named to be a leading contemporary art gallery and the artists that expose their art there are considered to be groundbreaking artists that are transforming art history and creating a new timeline for themselves. Artists like Shinique Smith who are willing to discuss the ugly and beautiful truths of our history as humans. Smith says, “My works for STARGAZING were created through moments of meditation between myself and my materials, reflecting on themes of mortality and disharmony during the George Floyd riots and the uncertainties of a global pandemic. At times obscuring my vision, I allowed breath and water to move my hand. David Castillo Gallery felt like a safe space to share these explorations and these works, and in turn, these works transform the gallery into a sanctuary for contemplation.”
Other iconic artists that have exhibited their art at the gallery include George Sánchez-Calderón, Jillian Mayer, Adler Guerrier, and Lyle Ashton Harris. What they all have in common is they use art as a way to express the injustices of the world, the ugliness of some parts of human history, and still bring a beautiful light to the negative of the world by their stunning art.
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