'In all the work there's a certain distance, I want to keep the viewer outside of these worlds; it’s part of not knowing something that creates a desire of a yearning.'
Bridget Smith (b. 1966, Essex) works with photography, video and site-specific installations to explore the relationship between the real and the imagined within social and architectural spaces. Using the properties of light, colour, pattern and scale, she creates a space where the ‘unreal’ emerges as an aesthetic experience. Her artwork addresses our conflicted desire to feel both connected and transported: within society, the landscape and the wider universe. Smith’s approach to photography interweaves multiple positions: analogue and digital, still and moving, and the photograph as both sculpture and object.
The architecture of the cinema and its component elements have remained a recurring theme throughout Smith’s career. Blueprint for a Sea (rising) (2015) ‘re-imagines an exterior landscape through interior space’, while using one of the earliest forms of photographic practice, the cyanotype, on a unique scale. Such explorations of photography itself, as medium, process and materiality, have more recently manifested in experiments with the depiction of light and the representation of infinite space. Objects in Space is a series of ambrotype and tintype images, predominantly of crystals and glass objects. Smith is interested in the deep black of the glass surface and waxed polished tin and its correspondence to both the inactivated mobile phone screen, and the blackness of outer space. ‘The resulting works’, comments the artist, ‘explore the poetic alchemy of matter as well as the historical significance of image consumption across time.’