Saturday, March 7, 2009

David Smith

tall one, 2008
copyright David Smith

Tonight brings the opening of the first solo exhibition of my very dear and old friend, David Smith. David was one of my students when I taught photo classes at the Hyde Park Art Center in Chicago after graduate school, and he was the first familiar face I saw at the ICP when I started teaching there in winter of 2006. He was working on his MFA and found me in the media lab, and we had coffee at a diner nearby and caught up on the many years and transitions in our lives in between Chicago and New York. My entire first year of living in this new city was wrought with massive anxiety and uncertainty, and David tried to reassure me that is was possible to live in New York City with its set of pressures and to make work as an artist. His sensitivity, intelligence and depth invariably have a calming effect on me.

I am so excited to see this beautiful new work he has been producing in his studio. David's work is thoughtful, quirky, conceptual - always evolving and transforming. He is an artist and a thinker - rearranging objects and fragments of images to be considered in another light.

According to the press release for this exhibition at HQ Gallery in Brooklyn, David B Smith performs and documents a highly self-conscious creative process. He begins by arranging blank canvases, like building blocks, into various structures. Starkly photographing each one against a black background, the resulting primal images, like seeds, inspire a variety of playful works in various media. Painting, digital imaging, and sculpture are all referenced and these experiments are installed opposite the original photographs to provide space to explore the dynamics of possibility.

In the end, the artist has developed a body of work that simultaneously straddles a variety of media, without actually abandoning the photographic image. Using this hybrid practice, Smith responds to the gallery format in two different ways. First, the artist challenges the "no paintings allowed" mandate of a sculpture gallery with a show primarily focused on stretched canvasses. Second, Smith utilizes the gallery format to show a chronological documentation of his work as it moves from one form into the next and back again. The result of Smiths work is an exhibition that defies his chosen media while carefully scrutinizing and exposing his methodology.

David B. Smith
Before and After

HQ Gallery
236 Grand Street
Brooklyn, NY

Opening Reception:
Saturday May 7th, 7-10pm
on view thru May 3rd

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