Seton Smith, an American artist living in Paris, creates large photographic works of human scale with seductive color and an out of focus appearance, which give the impression that they are fragments of a collective memory, newly discovered. Smith’s work is poetic not merely in the overused sense that the works are beautiful, though they are, but rater in the way their meaning resonates subjectively with each viewer. As Gaston Bachelard wrote in the Poetics of Space, “At the level of the poetic image, the duality of subject and object is iridescent, shimmering, unceasingly active in its inversions.” Her images are difficult to pin down to one meaning, difficult to locate in time and place. Rather, they evoke feelings of place that are subjective and dynamic, both personal and voyeuristic.
“These objects seem like orphans, as if they had no history. Their origin no longer matters: they inhabit the interior space of the viewer’s personal memory…as if Smith were filtering our gaze through venetian blinds, returning us to the places that construct us and inhabit us in the form of memory.”