Artist Statement – Ariel Smith
I am a filmmaker, video artist and cultural worker based in Ottawa, Canada. Having created independent media art for the past decade, many of my works have shown at festivals and galleries across Canada and internationally. I am largely self-taught, but honed many of my skills by becoming heavily involved in artist-run centers and film and video cooperatives in Vancouver, Montreal, Toronto and Ottawa.
My experience with difference and marginalization as a girl, and as a survivor of abuse and exploitation is at the root of my practice, and has influenced how I see most everything in the world—men, women, relationships, economics, race, class, social hierarchies, feminism , the law. I am interested in the political and social forces that affect the lives of girls and women and I investigate these themes in my films, videos, and media art installations. In particular, my work depicts the crossing of personal boundaries, into situations of transgression and abuse.
As an artist I am compelled to use both surrealist and expressionist aesthetic strategies reminiscent of classic horror genre to explore the often-terrifying reality of growing up female. These are the things that scare me the most; these are the things that really do go bump in the night. I would describe my work as darkly humorous, disturbing, visceral and unapologetically feminist. Signifiers of innocence and archetypical girlhood are contrasted and warped by dark, ominous settings and aesthetics. Symbolic representations of longing, inadequacy and the internalized pressures that a patriarchal society forces upon women are examined and subverted.
In my practice I strive to create works that are anti-essentialist, tongue-in-cheek commentaries on the social construction of gender roles and the manifested performances in which they result.
My single channel films and videos are distributed by Vtape.org in Toronto, Ontario. Please note that the works on this Vimeo page are for preview purposes only.