“I’m trying to transform everyday materials into a more beautiful gesture that makes us think about our place in the world,” explains artist Shinique Smith, discussing her unique two- and three-dimensional works, which combine bold, calligraphic forms with recycled clothing, fabrics and found objects.

From January 27 - May 31, 2020, the UBS Art Collection presents ‘Indelible Marks’ – a solo exhibition of new paintings and sculptures by Shinique Smith, held at the UBS Art Gallery at 1285 Avenue of the Americas, New York. The exhibition presents the artist’s newest series of works and draws inspiration from the vast nature of the things that we create, consume and discard.

“We consume, we consume, we discard…it’s so wasteful,” Smith comments. New, totemic sculptures incorporate hand-bound and dyed clothing sourced from thrift stores, family and friends and her own closet. Each tells a personal story, while representing the potential for neglected materials to transform into art. The artist hopes her work will encourage viewers to “find more meaning in the things they have.”

“We are delighted to build on our collaboration with Shinique at Art Basel Miami Beach and to present her work, an important part of our collection since 2013, at the UBS Art Gallery,” says Mary Rozell, Global Head UBS Art Collection, discussing ‘Indelible Marks’. “Shinique’s engagement with themes such as sustainability and reuse are topics that are leading many of today’s global conversations."

In addition to aligning with UBS’s commitment to sustainability, the collaboration with Smith underscores UBS's ongoing partnership with #TOGETHERBAND – a global initiative to raise awareness of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. Artists, Smith believes, “can share different messages of awareness – through the materials we use, or the processes through which we create.” An advocate for #TOGETHERBAND, Smith supports UN Goal #12: Responsible Consumption and Production.

‘Indelible Marks’ includes works on paper by other artists who feature in the UBS Art Collection, including Brice Marden, Cecily Brown, Cy Twombly, Julie Mehretu and Helen Frankenthaler. Each work was selected by Smith and extends a focus on line and gesture, which runs through the exhibition.

“It means a lot for me to be part of such a vast and important collection with artists that I admire,” comments Smith. “Collections like this really consider not just each object that they acquire, but also the artists that they collect over time. For this exhibition I wanted to have a focus on line and gesture. When I go to make a painting, there is an immediate, intuitive gesture that comes through my brush. I hope that when people view the work, they come away feeling energized and inspired.”