Alexis Smith (b. 1949)

Life In America (1991) documentary, directed by Peter Kirby

Since the 1970's, Alexis Smith has been known for innovative collages in unique or exotic frames, which pair found objects with backgrounds such as maps, vintage magazine covers, and amateur paintings. Smith combines fragments from the mass media like magazine covers or dust jackets of the 1940s with a wide range of kitsch and found objects. Often she has organized several collages into sequences, implying a coherent narrative. As in a film, related fragments of text (almost a "soundtrack") link one collage to another. Smith has also painted large motifs directly onto a gallery's walls and then hung her smaller framed works on this mural-like background. In this way she succeeds in transforming the art space itself into a collage. In recent years Smith has expanded this impulse to work environmentally, doing many large-scale permanent installations including terrazzo floors for the Los Angeles Convention Center and the Schottenstein Sports Arena at Ohio State University in Columbus.