Christopher Smith, A View from the Box

Glass fiber reinforced concrete
Credit Line
Museum purchase with funds provided by Robert E. and Frances Coulborn Kohler, 2017
28 x 54 in.

Smith shows off his virtuoso talent in this relief sculpture. Carved elements cast shadows, creating an illusion of depth. Smith describes this work:

I wanted to work narratively. And I usually work in the total round, but I wanted to work pictorially. I don’t paint and I really don’t like drawing all that much, so I just used relief as a fallback. I had two models come to my house and pose separately. Those two chairs and that lamp are in my house. When I put it all together, I just thought king and queen, and then went into some family history of my own. When I was a kid, my father’s parents would come to visit and they always sat in two identical chairs in the house, and it became the Will and Estelle show. They could banter with each other, not-so-gently bickering back and forth, and in my mind they were like Fred and Ethel on I Love Lucy. So the dominant role of television in creating experience all brought up family memories like that. My grandparents didn’t sit around the house nude like the figures in the relief (at least not in front of me), but the nudity of the figures is a metaphor for the depth of open, nude, raw relationships. That’s where it came from. However, I don’t want viewers to have to know anything about my grandparents to get something out of the sculpture. … People have commented to me about the distance between the figures, as though they should be doing something sensual together, and yet there is a gulf and nothing is happening.


Stories Trigger
Blank field used to trigger form on artwork and artist pages. DO NOT EDIT



We invite you to share your ideas, knowledge, and stories as they relate to the art in our collection. Read what people had to say about this art or use the form below and write to us yourself.

Invalid Input
Invalid Input on Email
Invalid Input on Phone
Invalid Input
Invalid Input