Katie Smart creates a vision of othered physicality to imagine a space where she and others might flourish.

She asks herself, “If I were to imagine a perfect place for my psyche, what would it look like? I would want a soft place for my vulnerabilities to land. I would want a shadow that surrounded me with the smell of rain. I’d want cozy corners to hide in and mountains to shout off of. Every act of bravery would change the way gravity worked, and I’d have a special place for awkward childhood memories ” If someone tells her they are “out of the woods now,” she longs to explore that conception of fairy tale threat, mystery, and hope–where whimsical curiosity and archetypal discomfort meet.

When we feel our conceptions shift, she posits that we are experiencing a version of the Sublime. The word “hypsous” describes the “moment of transport” that happens when we meet the Sublime. That “transport” in this case is the “shift” of existing paradigms. One might say in this circumstance: ‘It’s not the end of the world, just the end of a world.’ One might suddenly sense that the limitations we feel are not insurmountable, or understand that that which is on the horizon won’t stay there, as long as one keeps moving forward.

Katie Smart’s considers subjective internal realities. Abstract landscapes act as cipher for lived experiences with boundaries, enclosures, distance, loss, horizons and things buried. She explores uncomfortable shapes, objects of desire, and systems of organization. It is an imagining of what freedom from feeling “othered” might look like, and therefore an interrogation of the societal forces that can warp us with shame and the pressure to conform. New kinds of worlds with new ways of organizing can often illuminate better the way our own world works. Smart was born in Wyoming in 1986. She attended Mount Holyoke College for Studio Art with a concentration in painting and has lived and shown art in Boston, MA, Saint Augustine, FL, Chicago, IL, and New Orleans LA. Smart was part of the inaugural show at the new Shinola gallery in Hudson, NY, and entered the CCA MFA program in 2018.