April 7 – May 16, 2010
An opening reception is April 22, 6-7:30 p.m.
For Aline Smithson, the inspiration for a series of photographs began when she found a small print of Whistler’s painting Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Painter’s Mother, at a neighborhood garage sale. The same weekend she found a leopard coat and hat, a 1950s cat painting, and what looked like the exact chair from the Whistler painting.
“That started me thinking about the idea of portraiture, the strong compositional relationships going on within Whistler’s painting, and the evocative nature of unassuming details,” says Smithson.
With her 85-year-old mother, who posed in more than 20 ensembles, as a model, Smithson created the series Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Photographer’s Mother, which is featured in The Atelier Gallery at the Stoneham Theatre in Stoneham, MA, April 7 through May 16. An opening reception is April 22, 6-7:30 p.m. The exhibit runs parallel to the theater’s production of My Fair Lady.
Smithson says the series of 21 images “incorporates traditional photography techniques, yet becomes richer with the treatment of hand painting. It is my intent to have the viewer see the work in a historical context with the addition of color, and at the same time, experience Whistler’s simple, yet brilliant, formula for the composition.”
Smithson’s mother passed away before seeing the finished series. “I am grateful for her sense of humor and the time this series allowed us to be together,” says Smithson.
“As a mother, wife, teacher, editor, person engaged in the pathos and miracle of the world we live in, I look to tell stories that are familiar, yet unexpected,” she adds. “The poignancy of childhood, aging, relationships, family, and moments of introspection or contemplation continue to draw my interest. I want to create photographs that evoke universal memories. It’s about finding simplicity in the complex, creating a memory that never happened, finding humor or giving something dignity or a second glance. It’s celebrating life in a split second.”
After a career as a New York fashion editor, and working alongside fashion photographers, Smithson discovered the family Rolleiflex and became a photographer herself. She’s represented by galleries across the country and published throughout the world. She has been the gallery editor for Light Leaks Magazine; writes and edits the blog, Lenscratch; and curates exhibitions for a number of galleries and online magazines.
She was nominated for the Excellence in Photographic Teaching Award in 2008 and 2009 and for the Santa Fe Prize in Photography in 2009 by the Santa Fe Center of Photography. She lives in Los Angles, CA.