Emily Mae Smith Uses the Broom as Her Muse in New Exhibition

Emily Mae Smith‘s paintings always start with a riddle. Clues and questions that pay reference to everything from the history of painting to the numerous symbols that have become gender-coded throughout.

As her first show in Paris, Smith is showcasing a new series of paintings and works on paper in an exhibition titled, “Harvesters.” Housed at Perrotin, the latest body of work continues Smith’s exploration into the broom as a muse of sorts. Its anthropomorphic form, which the artist refers to as “her,” is seen resting languidly from scene to scene. “I am thinking a lot about painting’s pictorial relationship to labor,” the artist said in a statement, adding, that she has been “looking at a lot of paintings that show women as either laboring peasants or as idle myths.”

It is between this duality that the artist uses the broom as the “perfect analog to the paintbrush,” according to the gallery. Picking up the dirt, crumbs, and “those morsels still available from the mostly male-dominated history of art, in an attempt to make something new.” Similarly, and just as humorous, is the artist’s recontextualization of the rat — a universally detested rodent that is reshown in a positive, and slightly romantic light.

In both sets of work, the eye is liberated from the art and allows the viewer to reimagine the worlds and social structures that art history — for better or worse — has reflected over the years. “Harvesters” is on view at Perrotin Paris until December 18.

Also on view, the long-awaited “Forever Is Now” exhibition graces the Giza Pyramids.

Perrotin
76 Rue de Turenne
75003 Paris, France
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