“A little Madness in the Spring”
Photographs by Aline Smithson and Amy Stevens
Exhibition dates – April 1–May 11, 2014
Reception – Friday, April 4, 6-8pm
Artist talk – Saturday, April 5, 2-3pm
wall space gallery ushers in the spring with an exhibition that playfully examines codes of femininity in lush visual style. Named after a line of poetry by that archetypal female intellectual, Emily Dickinson, ”A little Madness in the Spring” invites viewers to reflect on gendered composure, etiquette, and the allure of the fashioned object during the season celebrated for sensory profusion.
With Confections, Stevens pokes delicate fun at injunctions of feminine perfection, favoring instead a campy hilarity in the form of endearingly hideous cake decoration. In a witty addition to Smithson’s oeuvre, Spring Fever depicts young girls as old-fashioned ladies via ornate floral hats. An impeccable visual balance characteristic of Smithson’s work supports the knowing humor at the heart of this exhibition.
About Spring Fever by Aline Smithson
Director Michael Apted based his famous documentary series, 7-up through 49-up, on the Jesuit maxim: Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man. In this case, I give you the girl. Spring Fever explores the idea of childhood and beyond, capturing 7-year-old girls wearing 1950’s spring hats. Juxtaposing hats traditionally worn by women half a century older with the visual of a child on the threshold of knowledge and sophistication allows us a glimpse into the future, and possibly a reflection of a face that wore a head full of flowers long ago. Some believe that articles of clothing hold the essence of the original owner. It is my hope that we are not only looking at a contemporary face, but an echo of a person that once wore a hat covered in flowers and worn during a church service or a garden luncheon, when once upon a time, we celebrated Spring with fanfare and a hat.
About Confections by Amy Stevens
The Confections photographic series began as a response to my 30th birthday. It was a celebration of birthdays, color, pattern and obsessive absurdity. My original idea was to bake 30 birthday cakes for myself and photograph them. I ordered a cake decorating kit online and watched an instructional video. When I quickly discovered my cakes were never going to look like the ones in the video, I decided to leave them in their exuberantly imperfect states. In the course of eight years (2005-2012), this series evolved into more of a humorous, feminist, conversation on life and our struggles for perfection.
About the Artists –
After a career as a New York Fashion Editor and working along side the greats of fashion photography, Aline Smithson discovered the family Rolleiflex and never looked back. Now represented by galleries in the U.S. and Europe and published throughout the world, Aline continues to create her award-winning photography with humor, compassion, and a 50-year-old camera. She has exhibited widely including solo shows at the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, the Lishui Festival in China, the Tagomago Gallery in Barcelona and Paris, and wall space gallery in Seattle and Santa Barbara. In addition, her work is held in a number of museum collections. Her photographs have been featured in publications including PDN (cover), the PDN Photo Annual, Communication Arts Photo Annual, Eyemazing, Soura, Visura, Fraction, Artworks, Lenswork Extended, Shots, Pozytyw, and Silvershotz magazines.
In 2012, Aline received the Rising Star Award through the Griffin Museum of Photography for her contributions to the photographic community. She also was awarded Honorable Mention for Excellence in Teaching through CENTER for 2012. Aline founded and writes the blogzine, Lenscratch, that celebrates a different contemporary photographer each day and offers opportunity for exhibition. She has been the Gallery Editor for Light Leaks Magazine, is a contributing writer for Diffusion, Too Much Chocolate, Lucida, and F Stop Magazines, has written book reviews for photoeye, and has provided the forwards for artist’s books by Tom Chambers, Flash Forward 12, Robert Rutoed, amongst others. Aline has curated and juried exhibitions for a number of galleries, organizations, and on-line magazines.
She was an overall juror in 2012 for Review Santa Fe, a 2009, 2010, and 2011, 2012, and 2013 juror for Critical Mass, and a reviewer at many photo festivals across the United States. Though she was nominated for The Excellence in Photographic Teaching Award in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011 and awarded an Honorable Mention in 2012 and was nominated for The Santa Fe Prize in Photography in 2009 by Center, she considers her children her greatest achievement. Aline is also a founding member of the Six Shooters collective.
Amy Stevens earned a MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art, Temple University in Philadelphia, and a BFA in Photography/Studio Art from Arizona State University. She has participated in both group and solo shows in major US cities as well as Canada, Ireland, China and Lithuania. Stevens has notably shown in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, Jen Bekman Gallery in New York and the ShiJiaZhuang Art Museum in China. Amy’s work is part of the permanent collection at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, The Cleveland Art Museum and The Beaverbrook Art Gallery in New Brunswick, Canada. Her work has been published in Real Simple, Russian Esquire, Venus Zine, and French publications étapes and Muze.
In addition to her personal artwork, Stevens is part of a two-personal international curatorial team having recently produced two exhibitions last year in Philadelphia and Dublin, with a new traveling show of Irish and American artists in the works for 2014/2015. Current and upcoming exhibitions include Dali Photo Festival in Yunnan, China, the Invision Photo Festival in Easton, PA, Warsaw Photo Days in Poland, The Center for Emerging Visual Artists in Philadelphia and a solo exhibition at Biggin Gallery, Auburn University. Amy currently resides in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
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