BLAKE SMITH

photography, ceramics

Contact Information:

Artbomb Studio
1320 Pendleton Street
Greenville, South Carolina 29611
(864) 245-0067

Artist Statement

In my work I utilize my personal history as a means of investigation, as a starting point.  My art today, is the convergence of my experiences of living in the South. As a boy I was fascinated with the mysteries that lie hidden over the next hill and in the back lands of my home. The South unlike other geographic areas exudes an ancientness that eludes historical time.  There is an aching poetry to the light and the land of the South. The ancient quality of the land has become an increasing fascination for me.  So much so that I have begun to slow down and spend time with the land and because of that I have come to a deeper understanding of it. This deeper understanding and sensitivity is key to my artwork and I use ceramics and photography to communicate this deeper understanding. My ceramic work is influenced by traditional southern approaches to pottery making. I use functional pottery to highlight the connection of man to the land. By incorporating local materials and clays I form each vessel on the wheel and then fire them in a wood burning kiln. This process incorporates the land from the beginning to end, and each vessel being functional serves as container and vehicle for sustenance. Much in the same way that the land has become sustenance and support for the culture that inhabits the south.

My photographic work is also influenced by growing up in the South. In my time here I have come to see the South as a place: rich with atmosphere, light, regeneration, mortality, decay and history.  For me the South is a mysterious place, a haunted place, rich with history and defeat. By using historical photographic processes and traditional darkroom techniques I am able to give corporeal form to this perception of the land. These processes allow me to impart to the image the distinct characteristics that I perceive in the land. Characteristic imperfections such as drips, uneven density, and scratches echo the accidental chaotic working of time on the land and its formation and regeneration.
Whether the work is ceramic or a photograph, my intent is one in the same. To use my experiences as a starting point to comment on the things I understand the most. To express a collective and ongoing understanding of the things that have helped shape my sense of place and the place itself.

Directions

From S. Main St take Pendleton St. approximately one mile into the Village of West Greenville. Artbomb is on the right.

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