Alumni Exhibition: Kaitlyn Jo Smith and Marisa Lewon
Joseph Gross Gallery
Kaitlyn Jo Smith
American Standard, 2020
Manufacturing jobs began rapidly declining in the 1970’s with the collapse of the steel industry across Rust Belt states. Since then, factory workers have seen a steady decline in employment opportunities. More recently, 5 million U.S. manufacturing jobs have vanished since 2000; 4 million of these have disappeared as a direct result of automation. One of these jobs belonged to my father; this work is dedicated to him. American Standard is both an archeological and anthropological examination of the present that asks us to consider the implications of automation on society, more specifically, America’s working class.
I was raised by skilled laborers in a Rust Belt town in rural Ohio. When I was 13 years old, the facade of the American Dream crumbled before my eyes when the housing market crashed and nearly every adult I knew was instantly out of work. The Great Recession (2007-09) shuttered factories, turning a once bustling industrial region into a post-industrial wasteland. These modern-day American ruins have inspired me to share my family’s story. Over the past two years, my father and I have revisited the American Standard plant where he, and many of his brothers, once worked. In this landscape, we become the archaeologists of our collective histories through the excavation and preservation of once functional pottery (toilets).
American Standard replaces workers with machines to question the ethics surrounding the current state of labor practices in this country. By utilizing processes that have rendered the shift-worker nearly obsolete, including 3D scanning, 3D printing and machine learning, attention is drawn to the individuals that these processes replace. American Standard is a contemporary counter-monument honoring the working class through its use of deep fakes and non-functional utilitarian objects. It is through the installation’s ceaseless repetition that American Standard memorializes the digital age of mechanical reproduction.
Temporary Structures, 2020
Temporary Structures is an amalgamation of sand, skin, self-understanding and time. Combining previous intuitive performance with interactive sculpture, I analyze my fragile relationship with unfamiliar landscapes. Having spent the first 25 years of my life oceanside, moving to the desert became both my inspiration and restraint. I use personal history to understand how the experience of where and how we are raised can alter reactions and perceptions of new landscapes as adults. Displacement and spaces that simultaneously provide comfort and discomfort are themes that serve as interruptions within this piece. While my immediate reactions are profoundly impacted by the varying landscapes I inhabit, the experiential residue of where I have been will never be washed away.
In this work, my perception of, and aversion to, ideas of home are echoed through exploration of personal memory. Utilizing the visual structure of a barnacle, I source the growth process of this creature to create a metaphor for human life. As “children” barnacles can freely swim about, much like a small fish or a tadpole. As they become mature, they create a calcified shell around themselves, remaining in one place until they eventually die, leaving behind just the shell as proof of their existence. There are many parallels that can be drawn between the life cycle of this small shellfish and humans. This fabricated mental reality that my work depicts represents a distinct binary between the desire to never settle and the need to find a place that feels secure.
Seated Apart, a 3DXM exhibition
Lionel Rombach Gallery
Throne Mask of Never Moving On
d i s t a n c e d
Would you like to sit down?
Yong Yellow hYeonji
Willy Wonka and the (Not so successful) Furniture Factory
Lionel Rombach is proud to present “Seated Apart” a 3DXM exhibition.
Students found or purchased an existing chair and through conceptual and physical manipulation created a new visual experience from this commonplace object.