NARRATOR: This gallery is devoted to Smith’s self-portraits. While she avoided using her own body in sculpture, preferring a more neutral, anonymous figure, as soon as she got to Universal Limited Art Editions she began using her own image in her prints.
Banshee Pearls shows Smith’s interest in layering and reusing images. Note the repeated mask-like images of her face, as well as the repetition of drips, which are printed to look as if they are dripping from top to bottom on some sheets and from the bottom up on others. Smith’s father used to call her a banshee, a reference to the screaming Irish figure who foretold death.
Curator Wendy Weitman says that in this piece she turns that negative image around.
WENDY WEITMAN: Banshee Pearls, I always think of it as her coming out party, is an enormous or monumental wall piece of dozens, dozens of images of herself. But what she loves to do and did in that picture is horrific images: death mask images, skull like images, scary images. She's not trying to glorify herself. So I think she's quite vulnerable. And let's that out in a way if she can turn it to an artistic advantage. She's not afraid to show herself in a negative way.