Shelter II is a large-scale beaded sculpture that ambitiously expands on the artist’s beadwork practice. Over the last two years, Smith has radically up-scaled her process applying weaving techniques employed in glass bead-stitching to create a sculpture incorporating hundreds of grapefruit-sized mirror polished stainless steel beads tensioned together using steel cable. The end result is a gargantuan beadwork that has immense physical presence and a surface that slyly reflects and distorts its surroundings. While building on the artist’s training in architecture, Shelter II is also a rebuke to the dismissal of beading as “women’s work” within the context of a patriarchal Western art history rather than as a viable and transgressive art form in its own right.
Photography: Scott Lee
Sharl G. Smith was born and raised in Jamaica and is based in Waterloo, Ontario. She obtained her Bachelor of Architecture in 2003 and spent over a decade working as a designer and architectural professional in the United States. Moving to Canada in 2015, she became a full-time artist and proprietor of Sun Drops Studio. Shelter II debuted at the Grimsby Public Art Gallery earlier this year, and the artist is also exhibiting as part of a two-person exhibition with Barry Ace titled Beyond the Bead at the Canadian Clay & Glass Gallery. Shelter II was made possible by the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Waterloo Region Arts Fund.