American, born 1954
Bronze, edition 2/3
39 x 101 x 24 inches (99.1 x 256.5 x 61 cm)
Sarah Norton Goodyear Fund, 2002
Kiki Smith once stated that ninety-nine percent of her work is psychological, which opens it up to many possible interpretations. She has commented, “I always liked the idea of making things that are really open, that everybody can come to with their own ideas and responses.” Here, a relatively small deer, which does not look the least bit concerned, gives birth to a fully grown woman. The combination of woman and deer, along with the idealized, classical style of both figures, evokes Diana, the ancient Roman goddess of the hunt, who is often depicted accompanied by a deer. Deer also feature prominently in the spiritual beliefs of a number of Native American cultures, reflecting the importance of our ties to the natural world. This theme is very important to Smith, who once stated, “The fate of humankind is intimately interconnected with the health of the environment.” If we destroy the environment, symbolized in this work by the deer, we, too, will cease to exist. Smith is not trying to teach a specific lesson: “I’m not trying to make didactic work that has literal interpretations. . . . I try to be as vague as possible! I want things to be open. I don’t want to tell people how to think.”
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