Black Pony Features Teresa Kirby Smith

May 5, 2020 | 0 Comments

Black Pony Gallery is getting set to open a new exhibition showcasing works by Teresa Kirby Smith, a photographer who received an MA in Photography & Fine Arts Administration from New York University.

Curator Lisa Howie said, “Black Pony Gallery is committed to the narrative of contemporary visual art makers in the Atlantic world. Currently, the gallery represents eleven artists residing in Bermuda and one in the Azores.

“Each artist is defining their own paths, challenging narrow perceptions of island art, and signaling to the global art market that this geographical region has much to offer.

“Photographer Teresa Kirby Smith was born in Peru and raised in Chile, Panama, and Argentina. She studied at the Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, New York, and received an MA in Photography and Fine Arts Administration from New York University.

“Her photography can be neatly split into two discrete categories: black-and-white film shot exclusively at night and later developed and printed in her studio, and abstract color imagery created during daylight hours using a digital camera.

Teresa Kirby Smith Light Spectrum Bermuda May 2020 (2)

“Smith’s work has been shown in Bermuda and the United States and has appeared in online exhibitions. She was the recipient of the 2013 Charman Grand Prize at the Masterworks Museum of Bermuda Art, and she has been featured in the Bermuda National Gallery Biennial exhibitions in 2012, 2014, 2016 and 2018.

“Light Spectrum is a solo online exhibition that runs May 8 – June 1, 2020. Featuring 13 artworks, the exhibition is a dramatic story of light and color. Moonlit scenes that blur land and sea, gothic views in shocking contrast to blasts of wild color. Energizing, contemplative photo-artistry.

Visit the Black Pony Gallery website here.

Below is an exclusive Q & A between artist Teresa Kirby Smith and curator Lisa Howie:

LH: What if we start with on overall comment on the selection of artwork for the exhibition… two very different styles of expression. Can you tell me something about the process behind each style?

TKS: These color abstracts and the black and white night photographs are two ongoing series. Both are direct opposites, color images using a handheld digital camera and using sunlight as the light source. Whereas, the black and white images are created with a medium format film camera, mostly handheld, sometimes on a tripod and using moonlight as the light source.

Teresa Kirby Smith Light Spectrum Bermuda May 2020 (1)

In these color abstracts I use the late afternoon sunlight, which has a more intense sharper angle. Some of the materials used in this process are coloured acetate sheets, transparent colour acrylic film, glass, coloured water, and sometimes ice. The sunlight is reflected and refracted through and off these materials, creating multiple shapes. Intentional motion is often used.

My night black and white images mainly use moonlight but sometimes available light sources, i.e. flashlight or streetlight. Sometimes I use timed exposures from a few minutes to longer periods of time. Intentional movement might be added and also hand holding my camera.

LH: Your process description is a reminder that photographic images are made artistic constructions that, in your case, involve various resources including a steady hand and are highly experimental.

Do you have images in your mind of what you want the artwork to look like? Or is this process much more about creative freedom?

TKS: Sometimes I preconceive an image which results well and at times it’s a bust. For example, if an abstract image isn’t recognizable or not strong enough. In a digital camera, there are endless possibilities since you can shoot multiple images.

Whereas, in my film camera there are only 12 possible shots in a roll. If I get one or two really good ones, that’s saying a lot. And, in my night images there may not be enough light or it’s too contrived. It requires patience as well as being spontaneous.

Absolutely, there is plenty of creative freedom in my work. There are many happy accidents in photography. That’s the icing on the cake!

LH: The experimentation also tells me a lot about you. That you are patient and open-minded to the happy accidents. Allowing the work to reveal itself is its own skill and may be instructive for anyone reading this who wants to take risks in their art-making.

What advice do you have for someone exploring the art of photography?

TKS: Look at various photography books, try to see some photo exhibitions, either online, or in galleries and museums. Learn about the history of photography. Look up online photographic magazines, i.e. Lens Culture, Photograph and L’Oiel de la Photographie. They feature exhibitions, reviews and listings of many photography shows.

Perhaps take a basic course online. Start creating images with a smartphone. Decide what styles or what is interesting to you. Maybe invest in an inexpensive digital camera and learn all you can about it.

Experiment. Practice. Keep working at it. Learn from your mistakes. Keep in mind that not all images will be interesting. Edit, edit and more editing. Be critical.

Finally, use your imagination and your instinct.

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