Sable Elyse Smith: Blue is Ubiquitous and Forbidden

+/- Project Space

November 12 – December 21, 2015
Opening Reception: Fri. November 13, 2015

Blue is ubiquitous_web
SOHO20 was pleased to present Blue is Ubiquitous and Forbidden, an exhibition of works by artist Sable Elyse Smith, the gallery’s second presentation in the +/- Project Space. The title of this body of work, The Body Keeps the Score, comes from the book by Bessel van der kolk of the same name, which studies the corporeal manifestations of trauma and stress.

Through video, sculpture, images, and text, Smith utilizes the framework of self-portraiture to survey traces of trauma created by the bureaucratic system of mass incarceration. Using aerial views of prison complexes as a point of reference, she extracts colors (blues in particular), demarcation lines, and other fragments that touch on the experience of visiting her father in various prisons over the past 19 years. The subsequent works examine and dismantle regulatory codes that are both embedded in the body yet deeply impersonal, creating a space where achieving normalcy begets an alien, unfamiliar presence.


Sable Elyse Smith is an interdisciplinary artist & writer based in New York. Her practice considers memory and trauma while enacting an undoing of language. She works from the archive of her own body creating new syntax for knowing and not knowing, thereby marking the difference between witnessing and watching. To see is unbearable. She has performed at the New Museum, Eyebeam, Queens Museum, NY; and Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, San Francisco, CA. Her work has been published in Radical Teacher, Studio Magazine, and No Tofu Magazine. Smith has received fellowships from Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Franklin Furnace Fund. She is currently part-time faculty at Parsons The New School for Design.