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Portrait of the Artist by Danielle Aphrodite Nemet
Andrea M. Smith

May 13 – June 17, 2023

527 N. Taylor Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15212

here is pleased to present Praying for Wings, a solo exhibition by New York-based artist, Andrea M. Smith. The opening reception will take place on Saturday, May 13th from 6 to 8pm.

On May 13th of last year, I found a textbook plate of Sasetta’s Saint Anthony Tempted by the Devil in the Form of a Woman at an antique shop. The image seemed to present itself to me, and its influence is seen throughout the exhibition. I was aware of the date because it was my dad’s birthday—his birthday, my birth time—5:13. Somehow, this was the date proposed when discussing the show. I don’t believe in coincidences, but I trust in my timing.

I settled on the name “Praying for Wings” after a crude illustration I’d made towards the end of last year—a silhouette of someone nearly on their knees in a moment of surrender or perhaps, praying…for atonement, ascension?  Were the wings always there, unbeknownst to the desires of our subject? This image became an emblem for the idea that maybe we already have everything we need. It’s also a bit tongue-in-cheek, considering I spent a chunk of 2022 on the couch, healing after breaking my ankle in three places.

The audio-piece by the same name seeks to capture the feeling of being back on two feet in the immediate weeks after learning to walk again—the euphoria of my own autonomy and growing physical strength. The sounds of footsteps carry all the way through a ten-minute loop, carrying both me and my sound recorder through streets of saturated late summer heat in New York; September in the southern Peloponnese, walking the stone village where four of my great grandparents were born, nearby Monemvasia where my “big yiayia” Anthula was married; Athens at night, back through New York,  and into the deep snow of my parent’s backyard in Minnesota.  It rises — lifted by an interlude by composer Mhm, mhm, calling in the first notes of Sir John Tavener’s Ikon of Eros, performed by my late aunt Jorja Fleezanis — beyond earth, to a place where the weight of my steps are distant to mind.

After beginning the triptych and while studying historical painters of St. Anthony’s Temptation, I found and felt the strongest resonance with Diego Rivera’s iteration with its entwined mandrake roots in place of holy figures. With close consideration to the parables of St. Anthony’s piety and torment by visions of women and beasts alike, I sought to create a completely torturous landscape steeped with temptation, inescapable from the human form. Ultimately, from the “Temptation” to its narrative inverse in “Seduced by an Angel,” these paintings are a depiction of our intrinsic connection with nature, man’s taught resistance to it, or the choice to surrender to the divine.

Andrea M. Smith (b. 1992, Minneapolis, MN) is a New York-based artist. Recent exhibitions include Stranger Things, here, Pittsburgh, PA; The A.M.S. Sun, Of The Cloth, Brooklyn, NY; Apocalypse Now!, Estrella Gallery, New York, NY and For Georgia, 27 Orchard, New York, NY.

“Andrea Smith” by Laura Bannister

May 10, 2023

Installation view courtesy of Chris Uhren.Installation view courtesy of Chris Uhren.Installation view courtesy of Chris Uhren.Installation view courtesy of Chris Uhren.