Yvette Kaiser Smith: Drifting Inside Traditions

ON VIEW: July 16 – August 14, 2022

YKaiserSmith_Phantom Distinction 10

Opening Reception: Sunday, July 17 from 1-4pm

Artist Talk: Tuesday, July 26 from 7-9pm. RSVP here.

Yvette Kaiser Smith is an artist who uses numbers. Employing sequences from numbers pi or e, she creates wall-based, occasionally ceiling-hung, geometric abstractions, where values of digits direct a composition’s formal structure: placement of line and shape, color relationships, number of elements within a pattern. Kaiser Smith’s recent mixed-media, fiber-based works drift through multiple artforms in varying degrees. They may allude to painting, drawing, or tapestry. They combine languages of sculpture, embroidery, and weaving.

The global chaos of 2020 forced a shift in Kaiser Smith’s studio practice. In reaction to Covid lockdowns concurrent with widening divisions within our society, she began combining acrylic sheet scraps left over from previous projects with found paper gift bags, later with industrial felts, and incorporating embroidery stitches, using a variety of yarns and threads. Kaiser Smith explores simple and direct ways of combining polyester and acrylic felts with acrylic sheet scraps, to create cohesive, uniquely interconnected communities, as slow stitching, a traditional craft element found across cultures and time, binds the two together and claims status as a third and equal element of the new body. In combining dissimilar materials and multiple material and technique languages, this work challenges our perception of differences. It asks viewers to consider whether we see diversity as a hard difference that leads to the notion of otherness, or as variation within a unified group, others as part of us.


Born in Soviet-occupied Prague, Czechoslovakia, Yvette Kaiser Smith has resided in Chicago since 1991. She holds a BFA from Southern Methodist University, which includes a fellowship to Yale School of Art Summer Program, and an MFA in sculpture from University of Chicago. Kaiser Smith has exhibited at regional museums, art centers, and university galleries throughout the United States. Exhibitions abroad include U.S. Embassies in Moscow, Ankara, and Abuja; the National Art Museum of China in Beijing; alternative galleries in London, Rome, Madrid, Berlin, Jena - Germany, and Veliko Tarnovo - Bulgaria; art fairs in Berlin, Luxembourg, and Milan; also Bridges Mathematical Art Exhibitions in Linz and Stockholm. Kaiser Smith created site-specific commissions for Facebook Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Rosewood Hotel Abu Dhabi and PricewaterhouseCoopers in NYC, among other clients. She has been awarded residencies at Ragdale Foundation and ARV.International in Vishovgrad, Bulgaria.


This exhibition will be held in the Second Floor Atrium Gallery of the Evanston Art Center (EAC). Masks are optional but strongly recommended for students, visitors, and staff.

Gallery Hours

Monday–Friday: 9am–6pm

Saturday–Sunday: 9am–4pm


Artwork sale proceeds benefit both the artist and the Evanston Art Center. If you are interested in purchasing artwork on display, please contact Audrey Avril, Manager of Exhibitions, at [email protected] or (847) 475-5300 x 107.

This project is partially funded by the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency, and EAC's general membership.


Artwork shown: 

Phantom Distinction 10 | 2021 | Matte black acrylic sheet, 4.7mm dark grey acrylic felt, 3mm off-white polyester felt, sashiko thread, 8/4 cotton carpet warp yarn, upholstery thread, Nu pastel, graphite, grommets | 24 x 28.5 x .5 inches