Satellites are Out Tonight
“Satellites are Out Tonight & Other Drawings by Tuesday Smillie”
Riding across darkened highway, staring up at nighttime sky and silhouettes of trees, Tuesday Smillie, six years old, listened raptly to the mysterious sounds of Laurie Anderson’s Big Science. In Smillie’s first New York solo show, Anderson emerges in a nighttime sky, among many feminist artists, choosen family and collaborators as sainted subjects. In collage-inspired drawings, Smillie places her characters, rendered in ink and watercolor from photographic reference into abstracted mixed media settings. The discontinuity between subject and location reflects a queer relation to environment: a dislocation. Disjunctive scale and pictorial flatness speak to a limitation of space. Still, Smillie honors her subjects, celebrating their presence in the world and mapping their orbit around her.
Radiating a flame of metallic silver and sewing pins, the subject of Considering Trusting the Magic appears deep in troubled thought. Behind, a knife cuts the space separating him from his environment. Another figure, in Stick to My Side reaches towards his obscured double who, buried beneath translucent geometric forms, mirrors his gesture. Standing rigid, a third subject gnashes a grin at the viewer in Fire Eyes. Her landscape, littered with testosterone inhibitors and pomegranate flesh, invokes the gendered nature of our relationship to emotion and the mythical distortion of distance and time. Unusual mixed media accentuate Smillie’s drawings. Sandpaper, pins, bells, perforation, metallics and leather layer the landscapes with their own emotional and energetic textures.
Lying prone, draped by a human skeleton we find Smillie in the show’s only self-portrait, Untitled (Nude with Skeleton after Marina Abramovic). Notably, this piece lacks setting, prompting the viewer to again consider the artist’s relationship to environment and to her subjects. “Satellites Are Out Tonight” gathers those dearest and most influential to Smillie, who renders the courses of her satellites, those that exert a gravitational pull, orienting the artist in her work and to herself.
March 3rd 2011