Aline Smithson: Imagine Exhibition
I am thrilled to be opening a solo exhibition at Wall Space Gallery in Santa Barbara tomorrow, September 10th from 2-5pm which will run through October 16th, 2011. On the eve of this big day, I am suffering through what most artists experience with the yin and yang of sharing your work with the world. There is certainly a sense of excitement and achievement, but also that feeling of fear and worry, but I think that makes us human. I am so grateful to have Crista Dix as my partner in this venture–she has been the most amazing supporter of me and my work and I feel blessed to be in her orbit. I am also grateful to this wonderful community of photographers who truly know how to support each other and celebrate this journey together.
I’m showing work from four series, as the gallery has four rooms for exhibition. Series include In Case of Rain, Shadows and Stains, Hollywood at Home, and a few from Pretty/Dirty.
In Case of Rain:
We live in a world full of technical distractions. I see my children gathered around their computers as though it’s a summer campfire, faces aglow, as they peer into a world of friends and fantasy, participating in a new forms of entertainment that further remove them from the childhood that I experienced.
Today’s generation has lost touch with the activities that previous generations have enjoyed—reading a good book in a comfortable chair, playing board games on a rainy day, flipping through Life magazines, or sprawling out on the living room rug while listening to records and reading the backs of album covers.
And it’s because of this that I have been looking at bookshelves and untouched childhood pursuits with a new eye. With great sadness, I realize that these objects will someday be obsolete, at least in their current incarnations. And like a curator of antiquities, I see them now as beautiful objects to be admired and preserved, if only on film.
I can only hope for rain, a heavy rain and maybe a power outage.
Shadows and Stains, notes from a dark room: After the closure of my community darkroom, I struggled with the state of photography today–it’s pursuit, the business of it, the idea of selling an image, the artist’s viewpoint, the MFA school of imagery, the death of the wet darkroom, iconic photography, toy cameras and digital cameras, edition and print sizes, old rules, new challenges—all the currents photographers have to navigate in today’s photographic waters,
I was not only saddened to lose my work place, but also a decade-long community of friends and colleagues. As a darkroom printer, I have found the meditative and creative state that I experience so important to my work—it’s where I make my mark, it’s where much of the thinking about the image takes place. Losing that experience, as part of the process, is not an option I want to face.
The series, Shadows and Stains, started as a reaction to a similitude of imagery I was seeing in digital photographs. I wanted to create a body of work that deconstructed the idea of a photograph, what it captured and expressed, and the interpretation it created. Shot with a toy camera (the Diana), images were taken apart, negatives overlapped or cut, text and texture added through traditional methods in the darkroom, and washes of oil paint added to give dimension the surface. I sought to discard the idea of making the perfect print and merge my darkroom thoughts into the image. I wanted the shadows and stains of my photographic fingerprints as evidence that I was there, in a dark room.
Hollywood at Home: Growing up a stone’s throw from Hollywood and Vine, I have always been intrigued by the real and the manufactured Hollywood. The staged Hollywood at Home photographs from the 40’s and 50’s of celebrities at play or at home their their families are particular favorites of mine. Now that I am back living in Los Angeles, I often find myself standing next to “celebrities” who look nothing like their created image. This is an ongoing series about elevating family and friends into a false stardom, where perhaps they are just on the verge of being discovered, happy to participate in the artificial glorification of who they really are.
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