Rachel Wolfson Smith is an accomplished artist with a mastery of her craft. She also brews an excellent cup of tea. That tea turned out to be vital during Monday's sudden cold snap as the conversation turned to the evolution of Smith's art, the sights and sounds that have recently influenced her, and the return to her third residency at Corsicana's 100W.
Smith's last residency ended in August, after four months of working on a series of graphite drawing triptychs she referred to as “Voids.” Smith admitted that she hadn't expected to be back so soon, but upon return, the familiarity of her time in the studio allowed her to pick right back up.
This recent stay, however, has given Smith the opportunity to work on a small series of pieces that have allowed for a greater range of curiosity and experimentation.
“It's allowed me to see how I have grown,” Smith said.
These new pieces are leading somewhere that even Smith is discovering their journey along the way, originally inspired by her time in Dutch gardens explored in 2018, taking shape as layered drawings with various pigments from acrylics shows hints of a grid-like symmetry in the compositions. The denseness of the leaves simultaneously invite the viewer in, but prevent the viewer from seeing what is on the other side.
Smith admits her growing connection to Corsicana and the walks she has taken find their way into the pieces. The residency space has allowed the artist to loosen up with a sense of playfulness and fun in her work than she has previously expressed. Smith concedes that the fall weather, coupled with the shift from Halloween to a more Christmas-style atmosphere has played part in her evolving work.
“There's a palpable coziness that I didn't feel before,” Smith said, noting the shorter days and shifts in the studio's natural lighting. “Turning the heat back on has been a reminder of the length of time that I've been here for the year.”
“It's been lovely,” she said.
Smith took a candid moment during the interview to share moments about growing up in her hometown in Baltimore, drawing inspirational energy for her graphite work while watching the 1977 and 2018 versions of Suspiria during the Halloween week, and building connections with her fellow residency artists. As before, the lines blur between her time at 100W and the work itself, despite the shorter residency.
“I can't separate the work from this place,” Smith said. “They are connected for sure.”
This Thursday, Smith remains just as busy, preparing for a “Living Artist” filming for a future release. Later that evening, she will present her latest works at the After Hours IV event at the Rebal/Searcy Studio while sharing her personal experiences and artistic growth during her recent time at the residency. In the spring of 2020, Smith will show her work in Dallas, bringing all of her work and Corsicana experiences together in one space. It is her hope that the curator will figure out how to make a conversation happen between her pieces.
As for another return to 100W in the future, Smith feels that is inevitable.
“This isn't the end for me in Corsicana,” Smith said. “This is a family here and I'm happy to be a part of it.”
What: After Hours IV featuring Rachel Wolfson Smith
When: 6 p.m. to 8 p.m, Thursday, Nov. 14
Where: Rebal/Searcy Studio - 405 N. Beaton St.