Robert Smith at Viridian Artists
Image above: ©Robert Smith, It’s curtains! 0267, Archival Pigment Print / Courtesy of Viridian Artists
Images above: ©Fernando Sandoval, Opening Night
Chelsea: Viridian Artists was pleased to present Robert Smith’s new series of photographs entitled “It’s curtains!” from April 5 to April 23, 2016. The opening reception is Thursday, April 7, 6 to 8 pm.
Some twenty-five years ago, Smith created a series of images of drapes and shades influenced by filtered sunlight that gained him recognition in one-person and juried shows. But then, he returned to pursuing his signature statement of the close-up, undisturbed natural landscape. Now, Smith, in a way revisiting that past, has explored a different close-up vision that combines the ubiquitous staple fiber, cotton, woven into curtains that cover wood windows joined together by a breeze and natural light.
Image above: ©Robert Smith, It’s curtains! 0403, Archival Pigment Print / Courtesy of Viridian Artists
By simply opening the window, Smith has created a fresh, new landscape, a series of dramatic, desaturated images amplified through movement of air currents and rays of streaming light. As the breeze whipped curtains are sucked inward onto the window frame and sash and then moved outward, the compositional possibilities become endless. The series encompasses a wide range of chiaroscuro effected, visceral feelings, from the quiet, voluptuous folds within the curtains to the sensation of chaotic, crashing bolts of black. There are stark contrasts, broken planes, unexpected angles, arresting textures and striking forms. His mind’s eye has one image offering the mystery of an operatic masked ball while another is reminiscent of a Robert Motherwell painting.
Image above: ©Robert Smith, It’s curtains! 3035, Archival Pigment Print / Courtesy of Viridian Artists
Smith’s sense of humor is readily apparent with his choice of the exhibition’s title. It’s a play-on-words throwback to the old, gangster slang expression similar to “the jig is up” signifying it’s the end. However, here “It’s curtains!” is just a beginning with Smith infusing new life in visual language. He invites you to come with your imagination and a readiness to have a conversation with his photographs.
Image above: ©Robert Smith, It’s curtains! 3122, Archival Pigment Print / Courtesy of Viridian Artists
Robert Smith lives and works in New York and has a summer studio in Maine where he offers “Steps to Seeing” walks, opening eyes to the richness of the natural landscape. His photographs are widely collected across the United States and in Canada, Mexico, Europe, Japan, Australia and South Africa.