2012 Night for Day

Night for Day uses drawing and sculpture to explore subtle shifts of light, time, space, and climate in an effort to pose questions regarding the natural order. Smolinski’s drawings are markedly larger, his subject more expansive, and his craftsmanship exquisitely honed.

When researching for this exhibition, Smolinski was inspired by Albrect Dürer’s engraving, Melencolia I, from 1514. The nely detailed image presents a composition cluttered with the tools of technology—a compass, magic square, scale, and hourglass— while atmospheric and celestial phenomena illuminate the background. It is theorized that the title alludes to a belief in an artist’s imagination dominating over mind and reason.

In Smolinski’s work, technology is also composed in juxtaposition to atmospheric and celestial phenomena. Instead of contemplat- ing the binary of imagination versus reason, Smolinski uses both to consider current and future landscapes. In Climate Shift in Dubai, for instance, a hotel and palm trees are barely visible though the cloud of a heavy snowstorm, and in Solar Storm New York, the Manhattan skyline is dark as the aurora hovers over- head. A concrete planter, based on the polyhedron in Melencolia I, sits in the middle of the exhibition, directly referencing the artist’s role in scienti c inquiry.

While Smolinski’s work is heavily rooted in art history and environmental debate, the work is also very personal. The term “day for night” refers to a cinematic technique used to produce the illusion of nighttime during the day. Smolinski reverses the phrase to contemplate a haunting disconnect between night and day when the illusion of day overtakes the night. When he draws the blinding sun along a wooded path in Sun Burst, or he shifts the color in Chromatic Aberration (Moon), the viewer shares an experience of nature ltered through Smolinski’s camera lens and his hand. To have these very real moments in juxtaposition to imagined environmental collapse is haunting indeed.