Ausma Šmite “Heart of Steel” Galerija 21, Riga March 28 – April 28, 2012
The young and talented Latvian graphic artist, Ausma Šmite (1986), has made her debut at “Galerija 21” with a series of lithographs created in the last year. As the theme of the exhibition, Šmite has chosen monsters. She sees them as a fascinating phenomenon – an intrinsic part of every society and culture, and describes them as characters that at once attract and repel. “Living in the dark, behind the borders of society, a monster embodies fear and the wild power of nature. However, it also raises the issue of how easy it is to make somebody out to be a monster, just by treating him/her that way. I allow the characters to stay outside of the known and comprehensible order of the world, and invite the viewer to judge for him/herself if he/she is ready to accept the strange and the uncommon,” says Ausma Šmite.
Work from series “Horror vacui”. 2011
The promising graphic artist's first solo show, “Heart of Steel”, open through April 28, has been created as a portrait gallery of strange and fantastic creatures, intertwined with quotes from pop culture, legends and true facts. The drawings for the lithographs are made upon limestone sheets, which are then chemically processed and with the aid of a special press, transferred to paper. The drawing process is similar to that of drawing on paper, with the exception that the surface of the limestone sheets allow for more intense techniques, such as scraping, corroding and experimentation with various chemicals and liquids.
Work from series “Horror vacui”. 2010
Guntars Sietiņš, director of the Department of Graphic Arts at the Latvian Academy of Art (LAA), says about the artist: “Ausma Šmite's lithographs are graphically clean and elegant. At the base of all of her compositions is a very fine and nuanced drawing. But hidden underneath this apparent lightness is an invisible and large amount of work.” Ausma Šmite received her master's degree in graphic arts from the LAA.