Stephanie Carlton Smith
OF EARTH AND AIR
Beaux Arts, Cork Street
As I walk through the doors of the gallery, after being momentarily distracted by the presence of Alan Rickman, I am greeted with strong bold structures which feel earthbound yet free. In Stephanie’s debut exhibition at the Beaux Arts, she mixes organic materials and glass blending the natural with the man-made in a sort of synthesis. There is gentleness and brutality in each piece. The physicality of the craftswoman is very evident and the precise placing of oak and alabaster, or jesmonite, glass and onyx are so beautifully considered as to seem the natural way of things.In ‘This Mortal House’ a rough circle of alabaster, polished front and back and a hole hewn in the middle, sits a tiny tree, its roots exposed and its branches fitted to the holes’ shape. Passing through to the back of the gallery finds ‘Between Air and Earth’, large brutal chunks of beechwood between which two halos of marble hover playfully, seeming to dance between the rough forest structure.
On the wall there is a beautiful series of drawings on plate glass. Stephanie works both on the front and the back with black, white and red enamel to produce special, textural and gestural images that hover on the picture plane.
This exhibition is a celebration of the fine balance in the natural world and a considered playfulness seen through a woman’s mind.
I feel light as I leave the gallery, so much so that as I drag on my cigarette do not notice until nudged that I am standing next to David Hockney also enjoying a smoke