Smiths Onion Institute exhibit : a perhaps hand
Smith, Lesley Winfield
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It occurred to me that I could take advantage of clay's strength in container-massiveness if I made other things like machines and technical apparatus of the future which sit when they are used, the form being a housing for the works. I also liked the "toy" idea for art, raising (or lowering, if you will) art to the point of physical participation. One of my last ray guns emitted a variable high pitched sound and flashed, being controlled by the participant. Ceramics was not a very applicable vehicle for a portable electronic object because of the weight. I tried papier-mache and though it was effective it was not satisfying to me. At this point my work began to split into two definite areas; the three-dimensional "machines" and the two-dimensional primarily the display of ray guns in use. The potentials in creating the Smiths onion Institute as the framework to unify loosely related forms was very exciting. Some of my observations of life have entered into this and helped formulate several axioms for the Smiths onion Institute. 1. Smiths onion ray guns do not kill. But they do make it rough on the enemy (i.e. changing to crybabies, giving them a headache or a toothache, putting them to sleep, etc.) 2. Woman is the superior human animal, gifted with greater stamina, patience and understanding, sensitivity and intelligence - when emotions do not interfere. Woman's Liberation of the early 1970's on Terra (Earth) began to prove this, gradually elevating WOMF., to the prime positions of responsibility and control. Smiths onion Intergalactic Time Agents (S.I.T.A.) were, are and will be all women attired in self-pride, self-respect, self-confidence, their space-time helmets and carrying Smiths onion ray guns. They travel through space and time affecting history, primarily in time of war or conflict. The nude female form, long an inspiration for art, is an epitome of organic form. And I believe, contrary to contemporary taste, that all variations of the female can be beautiful: slender, plump, stocky, short or tall. I intended to show as great a variety of figures as possible as S.I.T.A. Agents. The differences were considerably neutralized during the process of making the finished photographic historical scenes. I went further in several cases to visually experiment with contrasting crisp, cold metal with the soft grace of female forms. The effect, though jarring, is softened by the total processing.