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Now On View

Paul Anthony Smith: Passage

January 27 – June 2, 2024 

Paul Anthony Smith (b. Jamaica, 1988) makes large-scale photo-based works thematizing colonialism, displacement, migration, and memory. Passage features landscapes photographed in the Caribbean, Smith’s birthplace, that challenge the so-called documentary role of photography through strategies that hide information and slow down the process of seeing.

Smith’s trademark “picotage” is a time-intensive technique where the artist pierces thousands of holes in a photograph, creating intricate, atmospheric veils often based on architectural sources. What Smith refers to as “patterns of disguise” both enhance and erode the subjects, at once framing viewpoints, masking elements of the composition, and evoking the barriers and surveillance imposed on marginalized groups. Smith’s Caribbean landscapes conjure beaches and waterways staged as tropical paradises by the western tourist trade—idyllic Kodak moments dismantled through picotage.

Passage invites comparisons to the idealized and invented views of the Hudson River School painters, raising questions about how we contemplate landscape—as dreamers, exploiters, and explorers.

 

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