WATERWAYS brings together photographs made by Brooklyn-based award-winning British artist Jonathan Smith. Shot over three continents during the past eight years, these large scale, highly nuanced selection of photographs from five different series depict the stark natural beauty and inherent impermanence of landscape.
“Streams,” shot during the long winter in the remote northern reaches of Iceland, lies in a whitewashed snowy landscape. These vast white spaces are cut through by streams that find their way down the mountains, peeking through snow drifts, softly meandering, disappearing and reappearing in no coherent fashion. In the course of their downward flow, they begin to interconnect, colliding and interweaving, growing in size and character, creating remarkable and countless formations. In contrast “Rivers,” shot during the summer months in volcanic regions, reveals a landscape alive with the immense currents of glacial water, frothy and white with sediment, pulsing through the black basalt rock terrain towards the ocean. “Falls,” presents the innumerable waterfalls that cascade through the landscape of Iceland. Appearing like walls of light, these works, sometimes shot with a 1/4000th of a second shutter, allow the viewer to see a fraction of time stopped in fantastic detail. The “Glacier” collection depicts the surface of the Perito Moreno glacier in Southern Patagonia, with works revealing the unique blue palette of the compacted ice, fluctuating from turquoise to royal blue.
All of the works in this exhibition, including the more recent “Horizons” series (which were shot in Europe and the US), are an exploration of and meditation on light, movement, and form. In a space that seems lost in time, they are a reminder that there are forces of nature constantly in play, revealing a sublime beauty removed from our everyday lives. These artworks, captured in large format, allow the viewer to question their own relationship to nature in a private and contemplative way. This work is part of Jonathan Smith’s ongoing investigation into the transformative quality of landscape.