Solo Exhibition: Familiar Spaces
Dates: August 4 - 26, 2023
Reception: Friday, August 4 | 4 - 7 PM
Glass Rice is proud to present Familiar Spaces, a solo exhibition of portraits by Berkeley-based, self-taught painter, Sarah Smith. The artist depicts life-size renderings of women in safe spaces such as their living rooms, kitchen tables, and working studios. In this deeply resonant group of paintings, close friends, supportive peers, and admired artists are invited by Smith to engage with her in the process of holding space and collectively healing through empathetic, and at times brazen conversations. The expressions of strength, tranquility, and true humanity that follow are the ones captured by Smith in these paintings.
The large-scale portraits of the women in Familiar Spaces command an innate sense reverence - not only for their scale, but for the exact moment Smith chose to represent during her time spent with her subject. “When I have a sitter, we discuss what I hope to convey in my portraits. Sometimes we speak about what it feels like to live in these bodies that carry trauma, and other times we joke around lightheartedly. But at the end, when we are getting ready to pose, I tell them to sit in a position that feels most natural and to think about what we had talked about leading up to that moment. Their unfiltered state of mind comes through in their gaze in that moment.” The expression reflected is an unshakeable, quiet power that comes from the supportive nature of a truly safe space.
In representing herself in this exhibition, the artist depicts scenes from her grandparent’s home; a place she spent much of childhood and a haven she looks back on fondly. Memories of sitting at the window eagerly awaiting family members to arrive for a party, the unmistakeable sound of the front door creaking, and the lively conversations shared between her grandparents become self-portraits to Smith. Deep from her memory bank and snapshots representing her perspective at the time, the scenes are filled with mementos, furniture, and rooms; embedded with the safety and care she felt in that home, and continues to carry with her today as a totem to draw strength from.
Familiar Spaces is a powerful reminder of how imperative it is for places of refuge to exist within our communities; both physically and through candid conversations. The paintings in this exhibition become sanctuaries for Smith, her subjects, and the viewer.
The opening reception will run from 5-8 pm on August 4 and is open to the general public for walk-ins. Private appointments can be made on our website to view the exhibition after the opening reception through August 26.