A retrospective of secretive genius Keith Smith is currently on view at Bruce Silverstein Gallery. Spanning from the 1960s through the 80s, it offers a rare glimpse at his personal work. Primarily known for his artist books and for his seminal instructional texts on bookmaking, Smith has never actively sought attention for his own photographs. As a result many of the works in this exhibition are being seen for the first time.
Although these methods are not in fashion among contemporary practitioners—layered negatives, sewn together prints, historical printmaking techniques such as photo-etching and drypoint—the show is a breath of fresh air in a climate of digital sharpness and perfection. Smith enlivens and warms these very personal images by working back into them manually, making the artist’s hand an integral part of the image. He often uses the same negatives over and over, rhythmically questioning the boundaries of photography, creating jazzlike variations on themes of love and desire.
The exhibition runs through June 1st, 2013.
Feature Shoot Contributing Editor Matthew Leifheit is an independent writer, curator, and photographer based in New York City.