Vivian Cooper Smith, Apparition Apparatus

Underpinning this work is an interest in belief and value systems and their relationship to the natural world. These structures for thought and knowledge often rely on, or are reinforced, by experiences of natural phenomena. Faith and imagination contrive to instil meaning, symbolism and significance to hitherto unknown or misunderstood events.

Art Exhibition previously on at Galerie pompom in New South Wales, Australia.
From Wednesday 29 June 2016 to Sunday 24 July 2016
Launch Wednesday 29 June 2016, 6-8pm

Vision #2 image

Published by Galerie pompom on Sunday 26 June 2016.
Contact the publisher.

Examples of these could include a solar eclipse, a rainbow, the aurora borealis or even more common occurrences like the arrival of mist or the play of light in a forest.

In making these images I wished to emulate the construction of these ‘apparitions’. By applying the dots by hand I slowly build up a layer that hovers over the photograph underneath. As the dots increase they take on the appearance of an entity that interacts with or interrupts the ability to view the original image (without blocking it out entirely). 

In a way these images demonstrate our collective visions of the natural world – mediated by our human experience and the search for meaning.

This work continues my study into the materiality of photography and the possibilities it holds to investigate philosophical questions. The title ‘Apparition Apparatus’ could be seen as a reference to the camera itself.

Born in New Zealand, Vivian Cooper Smith spent his childhood in Bangladesh and India, teen and university days in Perth and has been based in Melbourne since 2000 where he maintains an art practice and works in graphic design. As a consequence of his transitory upbringing and parents’ missionary careers Smith’s work often focuses on considerations of identity (and what it means to be Australian), ambiguities of place and the role and consequences of religion in personal and collective consciousness. Smith’s recent work engages with the materiality of the photograph in order to add both conceptual and physical layering to his images. His re-working of the photographic surface questions presumptions about the meaning of an image, overturning traditional understandings of the photograph.

Smith has exhibited extensively around Australia. Exhibitions in 2015 include Cutting edge: 21st century photography at Monash Gallery of Art, Melbourne, Terra Australis at Galerie Pavlova, Berlin, and Sydney Contemporary Art Fair with Galerie pompom, Sydney. In 2014 Smith was a finalist in the Josephine Ulrick and Win Schubert Photography Award, the Bowness Photography Prize, and The Iris Award at the Perth Centre for Photography. In 2013 he was awarded the CCP Salon Patrick Corrigan AM Acquisitive Award.