Pencil and glitter on paper
40 3/4 x 30 3/4 x 1 1/2 in. (103.51 x 78.11 x 3.81 cm)
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
Gift of Lisa Walford
While she was a visiting artist at Capp Street Project, an experimental art venue in San Francisco, Barbara T. Smith undertook a three-week retreat consisting of fasts, meditation, and the creation of artworks in which Smith used her own nude body as a template. In Molting, silver and gold glitter fill in the penciled tracing of her form (the glue has since discolored, causing dark stains). In an earlier phase of the project, Smith had transplanted a dead tree to an urban park and covered it in shellac and glitter. Her intention during her retreat was to embody the tree, declaring that the fate of the earth and her own fate were irrevocably connected. In the drawing, glitter is a link between Smith’s body and the tree. Molting is the cyclical process by which animals slough off feathers, shells, hair, or skin; here glitter suggests both peeled flakes of skin and shed tree bark.