Shinique Smith's 'Refuge' explores shelter, homelessness and the excess of our stuff'

The slow, organic, ongoing process of collecting materials for her art is central to Smith’s practice. It’s almost a meditative ritual. Her art studio, in a cavernous Glendale warehouse she shares with another artist, is filled with more than 50 bins on shelves, each stuffed with a single type of object: plastic toys, flattened cans, cups and saucers, ribbon. One holds her grandmother’s linens, another stuffed animals, another rolls of yarn. About 300 additional bins sit in a storage facility around the corner, she says.