Thu 8 Sep 2022 to Sat 8 Oct 2022
Artist: Nyugen E. Smith
Sean Horton (Presents) hosts Bundlehouse: Just When You Thought It Was Safe, solo exhibition of multi-disciplinary artist Nyugen Smith.
The exhibition coincides with the artist’s inclusion in The Armory Show’s Platform sector titled Monumental Change curated by Tobias Ostrander. The section examines how recent revisionist practices, which are part of dramatic cultural shifts occurring throughout the world, are influencing artists’ engagement with sculptural form.
In his poem, In Which The Cartographer Explains Himself, Kei Miller wrote,
“My job is to imagine the widening
of the unfamiliar and also
the widening ache of it;
to anticipate the ironic
question: how did we find
Nyugen Smith imagines spaces – maps and structures – that guide understanding of ancestral history and shed light on contemporary issues. Nyugen calls the concept Bundlehouse, a round word that rolls off the tongue. The prolific series (2005 – present) consists of mixed media, assemblage and sculptural works and is centered around forced migration.
For his most recent structures, Nyugen gathered bric-à-brac, fabrics and soil from his travels to the West African countries of Nigeria, Togo and Benin. The items are spiritually imbued with the energy of the land of origin. The sculptures are skeletally constructed of found objects and restoration hardware such as hardwood, metal, wire and CV tube, and then embellished with fabrics, magazines, Togo beer cans, watercolor, gouache, acrylic and diaspora soil.
Guided by the Yoruba concept of ase, Nyugen constantly assesses and alters his pieces, borrowing elements from previous artworks to affix to new until the object indicates to its maker that it is ready. The artist finds enchantment in everyday materials and meditation in repetitive movements such as stitching, hammering, collaging and cutting. He receives gifts of fabrics, magazines and tchotchkes from friends in various localities and rehomes them in his works. This ritual expands his connection to communities across regions.
Nyugen Smith (b. 1976, Jersey City, NJ) lives and works in Jersey City, NJ. The artist attended the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Fine Art Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ. He has had solo exhibitions in the Nasher Sculpture Center, Dallas, TX; Alabama Contemporary Art Center, Mobile, AL, and Emerson Contemporary, Boston, MA. Smith previously exhibited in a solo booth with Sean Horton (Presents) in the New Art Dealers Alliance Art Fair, Miami, FL. He has participated in group exhibitions at the John Michael Kohler Art Center, Sheboygan, WI; El Museo del Barrio, New York, NY; Perez Museum, Miami, FL; and the Delaware Art Museum, Wilmington, DE
Courtesy of the artist and Sean Horton (Presents), New York