September 16 - November 13, 2010
Opening September 16th, Rick Wester Fine Art will present an exhibition of recent color photographs by Jonathan Smith, a British photographer living and working in New York for ten years. Saturated with an intense palette and dramatically cinematic, Smith's images are redolent of the mysteries of Raymond Chandler and the visual impact of contemporary film-noir sensibilities. Each picture evokes a tale of its own. One view shows an alarming orange interior seen through a living room window, echoing the drop of a blood red lamp, faint through a thick fog in a long shot of a midtown apartment building at night. Like the chapters of a novel, the photographs form a composite of grit and elegance with characters conveying a disassociated expectation, quiet but ready for life. Emerging from shadows, the sitters are interwoven in an elusive narrative with hidden identities and concealed motives, unknown to the viewer. The exhibition is a mosaic of motel rooms, roadsides, streets and cityscapes. The passions of the sitters are more implied than documented, sensual, but never explicitly carnal. Smith's use of lighting and décor emotionally augment his true subjects - the colors of night air and the abandonment that floats in it.
Jonathan Smith studied in the United Kingdom at the Kent Institute of Design (KIAD) and the International Center for Photography in New York. He has participated in group exhibitions at the Ariel Meyerowitz Gallery and PowerHouse Arena as well as having a one-person exhibition at The International Center for Tolerance Education of "The Bridge Project," a series of photographs of New York. He has been the recipient of a number of awards for his work including The Magenta Foundation, Flash Forward award (May 2010), the PDN Annual Awards in the Personal Category (May 2010) and the Photography Book Now Blurb award (September 2008).
From 2000 until 2009 Smith worked in the studio of the renowned New York photographer, Joel Meyerowitz. In 2001 he assisted in Meyerowitz's archive, advancing to Archive Manager in 2003 and becoming heavily involved in the photographer's World Trade Center and Parks Department archives, both of which are now part of the Museum of the City of New York. Additionally, Smith printed for the studio and was involved in the curatorial and production sides as well. His work has appeared in Metropolis and View magazines, PDN, Art and Architecture and The Royal Photographic Society Magazine.