reviews

Alexis Smith

Margo Leavin Gallery

Alexis Smith’s new series of collages is collectively titled “Jane,” 1985, and consists of juxtaposed fragments from the memories and myths associated with famous Janes of film and literature. As usual, Smith’s source is mass-media and pop-culture imagery from the late ’40s and ’50s: maps to movie stars’ homes, key rings and costume jewelry, old newspaper clippings, painted neckties, and pieces of fabric. The fragments are then tied together loosely by a text —isolated phrases and sentences which allude to, but refuse to embody, a wider narrative.

Smith’s strategy is to accentuate the paradoxes of collage itself, to stress the instability of the overall pictorial construct, by making obvious the artificial juxtapositions of the collaged fragments and the often banal clichés of the source materials. By allowing the identity of the collaged elements to remain ambiguous (are they cultural

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