OJAI VALLEY NEWS:

Molly Smith - Coast

“Coast,” by Molly Smith, crushed metal and repurposed paper

Sculptor Molly Smith is truly a “green” artist. All of her sculpture incorporates recycled objects from her daily life and travels. Her work, with paintings by Masha Keating, will be on view at galerie102’s new exhibit, Nature vs. Nurture, opening this Saturday, January 18 through February 23, 2014. Opening reception with Artists 4-6pm.

“While treasuring and admiring everyday things, I am trying to avoid the preciousness and separation of art from daily life,” says Smith.
“I work, using free, found, repurposed materials and in very low impact processes. I believe in sculpture having a life of its own and in these objects continuing, in some sense, to behave as they would in the greater world, altering and sometimes degrading.”

Smith, who holds an MFA from Columbia University and a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, taught middle school art for seven years while making her own art in New York City.
Her work Seize, which resembles a long blue horse rope, is actually made of paper towels found in her classroom and on which her students wiped their hands for a month before she created the piece out of them.

“Handle is made from the handle of a basket I found on the walk to my studio in Brooklyn combined with an old paint rag,” Smith said. “And Try is made from two pieces of rope, both found on the beach in the Rockaways, Brooklyn, I found one piece first then the other piece yards away and thought they should be reunited.”

Many of the pieces in the Nature vs. Nurture exhibit were created from found and repurposed objects Smith and her partner Josh Clark happened upon while spending the better part of last year traveling through the western U.S. “Brush is made with a piece of sagebrush and an old t-shirt of mine collected in the west last year,” Smith said. “And Burst is made from a sheet collected while traveling and dyed with the coloring that comes out of boiling down natural matter to make paper – something I did consistently while traveling. It is combined with a small metal funnel found in the desert.”

Smith is also fond of making her own paper out of found materials. “Ebb combines a piece of handmade cornhusk paper with a piece of wood that Josh split; a skill he learned and practiced with Jim Croft, an incredible homesteading papermaker we stayed with in Idaho,” she said. “And Coast is made from crushed metal collected while traveling combined with repurposed paper made from weekly flyers delivered to the Coast Time residency home on the Oregon coast where we stayed for six weeks last winter. I also had the chance to visit the University of Oregon and work in their papermaking facility,” states Smith.

Today, Smith lives and works in a timber frame house that she and Clark built themselves in Worthington, MA. This past December they welcomed their first child, Vera, into the world.

Smith and painter Masha Keating will be interviewed at galerie102’s next Conversation Series on February 2 from 2-4pm. Refreshments will be served and seating is limited.

galerie102 is located at 102 W. Matilija St., downtown Ojai. Hours are Thursday through Sunday, 11 am-4 pm and by appointment. For more information, visit galerie102.com or call (805) 640-0151.