14 May - 15 June 2013 at ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne

In Plate Glass, Sam Shmith’s seven new large-scale landscapes operate as a portrait of our own contemplative attempts to grasp that which we are existent within, yet secluded from. Shmith’s photographic mastery elucidates the polyvalent function of plate glass; offering transparency, perspective, protection and reflection.  It is the particular function of windows to permit the interior and exterior, the inside and the outside, to be united.  Yet, in looking out a window, we also demarcate our own private, sheltered enclaves, our own contemplation.  

Depicting expansive composite landscapes, often as they are encountered in states of transit, Shmith’s photo-works take us to places unrecognizable, yet strangely familiar. Digitally layered from an image bank of over 60,000 self-harvested photographs, Shmith choreographs a hybrid of images from his personal archives into each photo-work.

Thematically, Shmith cites Flight to Arras (the Antoine de Saint-Exupery autobiography), describing the poet’s task as being ‘to erect images like ramparts round (a) thing in order to capture it.  To capture it in a snare of images.’  The poetic nature of Plate Glass oscillates around a combination of the familiar broad strokes of one’s view of the landscape, the sky, the earth, with the specific and unsettling moment of understanding oneself within it – one’s reflection in the glass.  We are taken to a bird’s eye view of a city, the ink black of night skillfully illuminated and captured from an aeroplane window as the craft slowly descends.  We are struck by the eerie stillness of a train, the landscape hustling past its passengers and the passengers gliding away, captured within a fluorescent glow.  

- Annabel Holt, May 2013 

Currently living between Melbourne and New York, Shmith finds himself in bustling locations bursting with diversity and the potential for the expansion of experience.  Following the success of the exhibition In Spates (2011), Plate Glass is Shmith’s third solo exhibition at ARC ONE Gallery.  Recently, Shmith was awarded the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize in December 2012 with the work, Untitled (In Spates 7), and was a finalist in the Albury Art Prize.  In 2011 and 2010 he was shortlisted for the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, as well as the Hutchins Art Prize (2011).  In 2010 Shmith was awarded GQ’s Artist of the Year and was a finalist in the National Photography Prize, among many other awards and grants.

Shmith’s works appear in the collections of the Macquarie Group Collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Parliament House Collection, Art Bank, the Albury Art Gallery, the collection of Patrick Corrigan and private collections throughout Australia and the United Kingdom.

For all enquiries, please contact Annabel Holt at