Rebecca Elise Smith


Art has always been considered a space revered for its creativity and applauding the seemingly mystical creation of the illusionary. And yet art spaces have been reduced to hostile and unwelcoming environments, open only to the artistic elite and spurning creativity that is deemed unworthy. Traditional creatures of the imagination are puerile and ostracised as alien in the vast sterile blankness of the elite gallery whilst these same galleries endlessly proliferate their ideology of a free and open art world and space. These creatures have come to reclaim these spaces. ​ What was once intended to be a vibrant yet defiant realistically recreated dragon sculpture leering from the wall instead became fierce and sinister in assimilating the hostile, sterile whiteness of the gallery surrounding it. This symbolically antagonistic creature exemplified tenfold in emblematically taking on characteristics rejected in elite art spaces; illustrative, craft-like, unrefined and the biggest offender: a creature of sheer unbridled imagination and mythology. My interest in manipulating narratives and mythologies takes new form, with words becoming sculpture and creating a resentful monster who is the anti-hero of this space, the necessary evil and destruction. ​ These creatures also bring playfulness and humour, rekindling a love of imagination and escapism through art. Instead of labyrinthine white spaces filled with discordant, joyless artworks a rebellious menagerie of creatures force themselves through, revelling in their own exuberant artificiality to disrupt and play; faeries impishly haunting the hanging beams and leading people through a rewriting of the mythology of the gallery space, shaping encounters with dominating creatures of childish nostalgia and excitement. We are intensely susceptible to these creatures which have a such close and vivid proximity to us and our creative and imagined experiences and memories; unicorns, faeries and dragons are undeniably kitsch and always resurfacing within popular culture but that’s why their symbols and impact is so powerful, they appeal to our base imagination, raw and mouldable into every narrative and metaphor, defiant and undying. They cannot and won’t be ignored.