Kate SmuragaTitle Unknown from letter from the quiet town series (2015)

I suppose it’s a stretch to claim this ‘belongs’ here–that is: on this blog, interacting with more graphic fare.

It was several months ago when I first stumbled upon Smuraga’s work. There’s not really enough work to get a handle on whether she’s merely precocious or a solid image maker.

Still: there is a quality I find absolutely hypnotic. However, if someone were to ask me what about it I find so spellbinding, I’ve laacked a means of explaining beyond just repeating my initial assertion again.

I came across something today that made me finally recognize the pattern–it’s a quote from writer A. S. Byatt:

Ice burns, and it is hard to the warm-skinned to distinguish one sensation, fire, from the other, frost.

We think–generally–of the middle of a spectrum as being a sort of balance or fulcrum. Yet, there is usual something of one extremity contained within the other. Similar to the way that ice can both be felt to chill and to burn.

The thing that gets me about this image is I recognize the expression as a self-conscious between-ness: not yet an adult and no longer merely a child.

But such between-ness is not so much a halfway point as simultaneously occupying the extreme ends of quote-unquote conceptually incompatible spectra.

(Again, apples invoking the Eve mythos–and with that the simultaneous knowledge of good and evil.)

Smuraga is–in many ways–far more transgressive than most of the artists I post who spend a great deal of time and energy pursuing an agenda of transgression. Looking unblinkingly for transgression is one thing; looking without guile and seeing a wider matrix of connections and finding a way to incorporate them into a limiting frame is definitely the more difficult undertaking…

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