Barbara Smith Outside Chance Analysis

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1 Coming of age is a process full of physical and emotional stress. Teenagehood is a period in life where many people experience love for the first time, fall in and out of love with themselves, find what they are truly passionate about in life, and form their identity. Being a teenager about to reach adulthood myself, I have experienced all of these things and of course they weren’t easy but the last 4 years have been incredible. Growing up, it’s like a rite of passage to face hardships, to express angst and do things one couldn’t get away with as an adult and artist Barbara T. Smith translates these parts of life into her work seamlessly, even when the subject of her work isn’t actually a teenager. 2 Barbara Turner Smith has been making…show more content…
The installation features a short film (which can be assumed is documentation of a performance piece), framed photographs and computer prints. The photographs, titled Vintage Photographs (which, for the purpose of brevity, will be the only subject of this essay), show the process a woman entering a hotel room, pulling stacks of paper out of a suitcase and throwing them off her balcony on the top floor of the hotel.1 While the photographs show a grown woman undertaking these actions, the photographs can be found relatable by a wide audience, especially by teenagers. As a matter of fact, it can be argued that Smith is reproducing the experience of teenagehood possibly unintentionally in Outside Chance: Vintage…show more content…
They recreate the human experience without explicitly giving viewers a backstory. This allows us to make up our own narrative. And while Walter Benjamin might say that these photographs are simply a “copy” in a world of reproductions, and it is true that the images have reproduced an experience, the work still feels authentic and original because no matter how many times a viewer comes back to look at it, its story may always be different and fresh. Whether or not Smith was intentionally translating teenagehood into photographs, her images are successful because they do this and so much more. Her dynamic compositions, and use of successful design concepts tell a story that allows her audience to fill in the blanks. WORKS CITED Benjamin, Walter. The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction. Lexington, KY: Prism Key Press, 2010. Smith, Barbara T. Vintage Photographs. 1975. Outside Chance, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York

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