Sam Shmith, Untitled (figure, glass, landscape / consecutive), 2019. Pigment print on paper, diptych, 168 x 110cm. Courtesy the artist and ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne.
the sacredness of something is a selection of large-format works on paper from the last three years of Sam Shmith’s work. The artist addresses themes of digital capitalism and the monetisation of attention, and their overwhelming effect on the individual.
Shmith’s works can be loosely distinguished between transit images and scale images. The former enmeshes landscape and figure in the mundane subject of commuters on a train, rendered existential as they are captured in reflections on the glass of the windows. These figures are subsumed in the passing landscape, the play of light created on the glass and the layering of foreground, figure, and background creating a blurred effect.
The scale images, on the other hand, are of massive distant landscapes – a city from above, the sky, the stars – as seen through the minute detail of filters very close to the eye: the plastic of an airplane window or a simple sheet of glass. There is a sense of the implied human viewer, emphasising the scale of the infinite and of that which is so close to us it is almost invisible.
Excerpt from Adam Haslett’s Images of the Mind.
Exhibition opens: 6–8pm Wednesday 22 May 2019