Mixed Greens is delighted to announce their third solo exhibition with Joseph Smolinski. 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 finely 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 contemplating 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 overhead. A concrete planter, based on the polyhedron in Melencolia I, sits in the middle of the exhibition, directly referencing the artist’s role in scientific 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 filtered through Smolinski’s camera lens and his hand. To have these very real moments in juxtaposition to imagined environmental collapse is haunting indeed.
Joseph Smolinski was born in Minneapolis, MN, and lives and works in New Haven, CT. He received his BFA from the University of Wisconsin (1999) and his MFA from the University of Connecticut, Storrs (2001). In 2011 alone, he was featured in three solo exhibitions and four group exhibitions. Group exhibition venues include Diverse Works, Houston, TX; MASS MoCA, North Adams, MA; the Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, Ridgefield, CT; the McDonough Museum of Art, Youngstown, OH; the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art, Hartford, CT; The Cleveland Institute of Art; and the Yale University School of Art, New Haven, CT. Solo exhibition venues include Swarm Gallery, Oakland, CA; Seton Gallery at the University of New Haven, CT; Real Art Ways, Hartford, CT; and ArtSpace, New Haven, CT. His work has been discussed in Art in America, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, and Art Papers, among other publications. In 2012, he was awarded an artist fellowship from the Connecticut Commission of the Arts and an artist resource trust grant from the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation.