SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (figure, glass, landscape / consecutive) , 2019, pigment print on paper, diptych, sheet: 168 x 110 cm, each, 168 x 220 cm, overall.

Sam Shmith, Untitled (figure, glass, landscape / consecutive), 2019, pigment print on paper, diptych, sheet: 168 x 110 cm, each, 168 x 220 cm, overall.

ARC ONE is delighted to present the sacredness of something, the latest solo exhibition by New York-based artist Sam Shmith.

One possible description of life in the era of digital capitalism is an unwitting, machine-driven conspiracy against the act of concentration. As ever smaller fractions of our attention become monetised, the competition for them increases in speed and aggression. And as ever subtler means are employed to win those fractions from us, our capacity to even discern what it is we are paying attention to is frequently overwhelmed. In this onslaught of distraction, we either try to will our brains to operate at digital speeds or shut down and dissociate. Most of us do some of both. Lost in the space between these two reactions is the environment of mind that permits us to focus and to reflect and to feel.

One possible description of Sam Shmith’s artworks is as the distillation of a sustained effort, despite these forces, to focus and reflect. As such, they are a means for us to do the same. To slow our minds to the point of seeing rather than just looking. To neither consume in haste nor fall asleep, but instead be awake and open and newly alive to the old experience of wonder. This is no small accomplishment.

the sacredness of something... is a selection of large-format works on paper from the last three years of Shmith’s work. One imperfect way of categorising them is to distinguish between what we might call the transit images and the scale images. The former, which constitute the plurality of this exhibit, are a kind of hybrid of landscape and figure. Passengers on what appear to be commuter trains are captured in refections on the glass of the windows they sit opposite. While these figures are the centres of visual gravity, the place our eye is eventually drawn, their almost ghost-like figures are subsumed in the much larger field of the passing landscape seen out through the window of the moving train and the play of light it creates on the glass. Foreground, figure, and background are less defined spaces than the slightly blurred layering of all three in motion. The seemingly mundane subject of a commute is rendered existential.

The scale images, on the other hand, are of massive distant landscapes—a city from above, the sky, the stars—as seen through the minute detail of filters very close to the eye: the plastic of an airplane window or a simple sheet of glass. While there are no human figures in these works there is a strong sense of the implied human viewer, the person glimpsing vastness through the grain of the vanishingly small. The play here is precisely this shifting back and forth that the images produce in us between the scale of the infinite and the scale of that which is so close to us it is almost invisible. The pictures imply that there is a relationship, an interconnectedness between these two registers that we are habitually missing. And so instead of being conventional images of grand vistas that suggest wonder without the power any longer to produce it, these pictures manage to capture the mind itself in the process of looking. And this, almost miraculously, returns our wonder at the scale of the world back to us from beneath the clichés under which it has been buried.

- Adam Haslett,

Images of the Mind (excerpt), 2019

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (glass, sky) , 2019, pigment print on paper, sheet: 230 x 150 cm

Sam Shmith, Untitled (glass, sky), 2019, pigment print on paper, sheet: 230 x 150 cm

Sam Shmith (b. London, 1980) is an Australian artist based in Melbourne and New York. He has held seven solo exhibitions since graduating from RMIT, Melbourne in 2005. Shmith moved to New York in 2012, where he worked as studio director for the artist Adam Pendleton.

Shmith has been curated into several group shows including Photography 130: 130 years of RMIT Photography (RMIT University Gallery, Melbourne, 2017); Gifted Artists (National Gallery of Australia, 2014); and Light Works (National Gallery of Victoria, 2012). His work has been acquired into several major collections including the National Gallery of Australia, the National Gallery of Victoria, Parliament House Art Collection, Canberra, Patrick Corrigan Collection, Murray Art Museum, Artbank, and Macquarie Group Collection, as well as private collections throughout Australia and the United Kingdom.

Shmith was the winner of the Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize and the Patrick Corrigan AM Acquisitive Award. His work was acquired by the Murray Art Museum in their National Photography Prize. Shmith has been a recipient of development grants through both the Australia Council for the Arts and Arts Victoria. He has been offered residency fellow positions at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, New York and the BSA Ralph Woodford Residency, NSW. Shmith has been a fnalist in several prestigious visual arts awards including the Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award, the William and Winifred Bowness Photography Prize, the Fleurieu Art Prize for Landscape, the Blake Prize for Religious and Spiritual Art, and the Albury Art Prize.

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The artist wishes to thank the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts, New York and the BSA Ralph Woodford Residency, NSW for their support during the development of this exhibition.

SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  Parade , 2007, pigment print on lustre, 27 x 40cm.

Sam Shmith, Parade, 2007, pigment print on lustre, 27 x 40cm.

New York based artist SAM SHMITH is currently undertaking the Byron School of Art Ralph Woodford Residency.

Sam is currently working towards his exhibition for next year at ARC ONE Gallery.

More information >

SAM SHMITH, CYRUS TANG

Cyrus Tang,  4505.00s , 2016, archival giclee print, 100 x 100cm. 

Cyrus Tang, 4505.00s, 2016, archival giclee print, 100 x 100cm. 

SAM SHMITH and CYRUS TANG have been selected as finalists in the 2016 MAMA Art Foundation National Photography Prize. The Prize tackles the themes of Narrative, Object, Landscape, Portrait, Documentary and Construct. 

The National Photography Prize finalists can be viewed at the Murray Art Museum Albury from 21 May - 27 August 2016. 

JANET LAURENCE, SAM SHMITH, IMANTS TILLERS

Janet Laurence,  CORAL COLLAPSE IV - Reef Resuscitation , 2015, Duraclear, acrylic box, edition of 3, 90 x 90 x 5 cm

Janet Laurence, CORAL COLLAPSE IV - Reef Resuscitation, 2015, Duraclear, acrylic box, edition of 3, 90 x 90 x 5 cm

Congratulations to JANET LAURENCE, SAM SHMITH and IMANTS TILLERS for being shortlisted in the Fleurieu Art Prize! The Fleurieu Art prize recognises the importance of landscape as a subject for art, and it is now valued at $65,000. The winner will be announced on 2 June 2016. This year the prize's exhibition will change its traditional location in the Fleurieu Peninsula of South Australia to the Anne & Gordon Samstag Museum of Art in Adelaide.

For more information, click here.

SAM SHMITH

Untitled (Anaheim / illumina, custodi) , 2015, Dye sublimation print, aluminium, 10.5 x 8.5 cm

Untitled (Anaheim / illumina, custodi), 2015, Dye sublimation print, aluminium, 10.5 x 8.5 cm

Congratulations to SAM SHMITH, who has been shortlisted for the 64th Blake Prize given by the Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre. The Blake Prize aims to encourage contemporary artists to create significant works of art which engage in the wider experience of spirituality. The entries are not restricted to works related to any faith or any artistic style, but any work entered must have a recognisable religious or spiritual integrity.

For more information, please click here.

SAM SHMITH

SAM SHMITH spoke with Broadsheet Melbourne's Will Cox, untangling the individual incidents that prefaced his current exhibition Cherry Springs. See these captivating images at ARC ONE now until 5th December.

To read the article, click here.

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (Kittinger, evening) , 2015, Dye sublimation print on aluminium, 23.5 x 35.5 cm.

Sam Shmith, Untitled (Kittinger, evening), 2015, Dye sublimation print on aluminium, 23.5 x 35.5 cm.

SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (Cherry Springs 2) , 2015, Dye sublimation print on aluminium, 23.5 x 35.5cm.

Sam Shmith, Untitled (Cherry Springs 2), 2015, Dye sublimation print on aluminium, 23.5 x 35.5cm.

SAM SHMITH opened his solo exhibition, Cherry Springs, at ARC ONE Gallery on Thursday 5 November 2015.

You can read a fantastic review of Cherry Springs from the Daily Review here.

Australian Photography also wrote about the exhibition here.

Shmith was interviewed by Richard Watts from 3RRR's SmartArts radio progam on Thursday 5 November. The interview can be listened to here.

See also Michael Mckenzie's interview with Shmith for Radio National's Afternoons on Friday 6 November, here.

SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (In Spates 1) , 2011, pigment print on archival rag, 75 x 125 cm.

Sam Shmith, Untitled (In Spates 1), 2011, pigment print on archival rag, 75 x 125 cm.

The work of SAM SHMITH and ANNE SCOTT WILSON is currently featured in Seven Trumpets at Strange Neighbour in Melbourne. The exhibition brings together seven artists whose work circles around ideas of finitude, death and propositions for the end of the world. 

The exhibtion runs to 1 November 2014. For more information, click here.

SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  View from the Dayvan , 2008, pigment print on luster, 50 x 50 cm

Sam Shmith, View from the Dayvan, 2008, pigment print on luster, 50 x 50 cm

SAM SHMITH’S photograph View from the Dayvan is currently showing at the National Gallery of Australia, part of a new photography show, Gifted artists: Donations by Patrick Corrigan AM. The National Gallery holds one of the most extensive collections of Australian photographs from the 1970s to the present and the Corrigan gift has contributed to this holding in a significant way. SAM SHMITH’S practice depicts expansive composite landscapes, often as they are encountered in states of transit, taking 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.

The exhibition runs from 15 August – 12 January 2015.

More Information

SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (Plate Glass #3) , 2013, 103.2 x 186 cm, Pigment print, baryta paper.

Sam Shmith, Untitled (Plate Glass #3), 2013, 103.2 x 186 cm, Pigment print, baryta paper.

SAM SHMITH has been selected for the 2014 Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award with his digital photograph Untitled (Plate Glass #3), 2013.

The Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award is considered one of the most important annual surveys of contemporary Australian photographic practice and a highlight of Gold Coast City Gallery’s exhibition program. Established photographers are showcased alongside emerging, resulting in a stunning reflection of contemporary practice that examines diverse themes and approaches.

For more information click here.

SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (plate glass 3)  from the series  Plate Glass , pigment ink-jet print, 97.2 x 180.0cm, 2013.

Sam Shmith, Untitled (plate glass 3) from the series Plate Glass, pigment ink-jet print, 97.2 x 180.0cm, 2013.

SAM SHMITH has been selected as a finalist of the 2013 Bowness Photography Prize, presented by the Monash Gallery of Art. Together with 45 other finalists, Shmith's work was selected from 562 entries, resulting in the largest number of entries received in the history of Australia’s most coveted photography prize.

The winner will be announced on Thursday 3 October and the exhibition continues until 3 November 2013. 

For more information click here.

SAM SHMITH

Sam Shmith,  Untitled (Plate Glass #5) , 2013, Pigment print, Baryta paper, 200 x 108 cm, Edition of 5.

Sam Shmith, Untitled (Plate Glass #5), 2013, Pigment print, Baryta paper, 200 x 108 cm, Edition of 5.

Congratulations to SAM SHMITH, finalist in the 2013 Blake Prize with his work Untitled (Plate Glass #5), 2013. 

For more information, click here.

SAM SHMITH

SAM SHMITH has been selected as a finalist in the 2013 Bowness Photography Prize (Monash Gallery of Art) with a work from his recent exhibition at ARC ONE, Untitled, Plate Glass #3. Shmith's work is one of 46 photographs chosen out of 562 entries.

The Bowness Photography prize exhibition, opens October 4th, 2013.

For more information, click here.

SAM SHMITH

SAM SHMITH has recently featured in the newly redesigned ARTAND (Australia) magazine.

The PLATFORM section of the new and improved ARTAND (Australia), written by Jane Sutherland, (Issue No. 51.1, 2013, pp. 154-155.) outlines Shmith's artistic process.

Shmith's photographs are interpreted as immense, dreamlike landscapes where light and dark intermingle, creating a dramatic composition. Shmith’s methods of capturing photographs occur during times of travel and take place whilst in transit such as in cars, trains or helicopters. Throughout his photographic journey Shmith scans his surroundings in order to capture the familiar everyday observations of trees, houses, clouds, people and reflections.

"My photography is a process of literally breaking the world up into objects, then putting it back together. I ceased experiencing the world as a series of places, rather as a fragmented and endless resource of ingredients." 

- Sam Shmith 

Whilst the initial process of creating a work is heavily reliant on the taking of photographs, Shmith's collection of over 60,000 photographs come together and transform into and can be interpreted as a painterly manifestation. Shmith describes his work as being a balanced combination of collage and montage, where he works with numerous transparent layers against a black background in Photoshop - as a result, an ominous dreamscape is created.

SAM SHMITH

PLATE GLASS
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 mail@arc1gallery.com

SAM SHMITH

SAM SHMITH WINS MACQUARIE GROUP EMERGING ART PRIZE

ARC ONE are pleased to announce SAM SHMITH as the winner of the inaugural Macquarie Group Emerging Artist Prize. Dr. Michael Brand selected Sam’s work Untitled (In Spates 7), 2011 as the winning artwork. The prize includes $10,000 and the acquisition of the work into the Macquarie Group collection. 

Congratulations Sam!

SAM SHMITH

SAM SHMITH's work is included in an exhibition titled Light Works at the National Gallery of Victoria, curated by Isobel Crombie.  

Light, and its absence, it still a source of inspiration for many contemporary photographers. In this exhibition drawn from the NGV Collection, artists use the emotive potential and scientific capacities of light in their creative explorations of the world. 

23 March - 16 September, NGV

SAM SHMITH

SAM SHMITH has been shortlisted for the Albury Art Prize 2012.  The Albury Art Prize is one of New South Wales oldest municipal art awards, offering $20,000 for an international residency. The exhibition opens 27 January and continues until 4 March.

SAM SHMITH

SAM SHMITH has generously donated a work from his last solo exhibition at Arc one Gallery, In Spates to the 8th Annual Lighthouse Art Auction. The 2011 Annual Lighthouse Art Auction will be held on Thursday 6th October.  All profits go directly to Lighthouse Foundations which provides homeless young people who come from backgrounds of long term neglect and abuse with a home, a sense of family and around-the-clock therapeutic care.