“Kaneem Smith – Laborscapes and Archaeologies” is an exhibit of new works from an important Texas artist. The exhibit opens February 3 and there will be an Artist Meet and Greet Thursday, March 7, from 6pm until 8pm at Nicole Longnecker Gallery, 1440 Greengrass. Dr.
The artworks are part of an ongoing series of fabric wall-based artworks Houston-based artist Kaneem Smith began in 2018 entitled “Laborscapes”. Utilizing both natural and hand-dyed cotton canvas, Smith’s connected color panels speak to the viewer like a quilt, with its scraps of fabric sewn together and stretched over a wooden frame, much like a painting.
Her choice of materials —some of the found and reclaimed fabrics actually come from, or are inspired by, her father’s (renowned sculptor and Project Row Houses co-founder George Smith) old work clothes. As a direct descendant of community-focused creators, Kaneem Smith fully understands the inspiration behind quilt making, “A quilt is a representation of something being made from nothing, scraps if you will. We cannot move forward without acknowledging the past, just as plantation life was centered on cotton—the money it brought and the labor it required—and many African American families can trace their history to a lineage of oppression in service of cotton. ‘Laborscapes’ are assembled land-portraits—a close, sustained look through the eyes of archaeological and ancestral imagination, the natural environment transforming from a landscape into a laborscape.”
“My gallery was founded to give under-represented segments of the art world a space to exhibit their points-of-view,” said gallery owner Nicole Longnecker. “We believe Kaneem Smith has a story to tell through her ‘Laborscapes” and we want collectors to see her work and find the underlying narratives with the hope it creates further conversations about race, gender, and the exploitation of labor in our society.”