Emily Smith

Bio // Emily Smith has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions, as well as being a visiting critic and conference presenter. Smith is a recipient of a 2012 Leeway Foundation Art & Change grant which supported her exhibition In Visible Skin: Portraits of Transgender Philadelphia, which was shown at the William Way LGBT Center in 2013, the Berman Museum of Art in 2014, and is included in the permanent collection of the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts. She is currently the Executive Director of Philadelphia’s Magic Gardens.

Artist Statement // In the spring of 2015, I was assaulted by a stranger on my walk home from the gym. I was left unconscious on the street with a severe concussion, broken jaw and sinus, and shattered tooth. The assailant was never brought to justice.

When A Man Decides to Hurt You is not only an attempt for me to process the event, but it is also an examination of the profound physical and emotional impact of violence in America, particularly against women.

I juxtaposed watercolors with explosive fabric patterns; a pairing that is meant to both agitate the eye and champion more "feminine" media. They are framed in traditional Americana patterns, a reminder that mine is an unexceptional American story. We live in a society where physical, sexual, and emotional violence against women is commonplace, and violence stemming from poverty, racial injustice, and lack of support for those struggling with their mental health is part of our everyday landscape.

These paintings document one story in a sea of stories. I hope it leads us to a confrontational conversation: what is happening here in America? What role are we all playing in the systemic nature of violence? And what are we actively doing to stop it?

Click here to learn more about Emily's current exhibition.  View artwork below on this page.

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