Project: S*an D. Henry-Smith
“in awe of geometry & mornings”

January 12–March 6, 2021 Lobby

Press Release

White Columns is pleased to present “in awe of geometry & mornings”, the New York-based poet and photographer S*an D. Henry-Smith’s first photography-focused presentation in New York City.

“in awe of geometry & mornings” brings to scale a selection of ten photographs drawn from Wild Peach, Henry-Smith’s collection of poems and photographs published in Fall 2020 by Futurepoem. The artist describes Wild Peach as an exploration of nonlinear, non-narrative time through what they identify as a sonic offering of image and text – a sensory amplification of the natural world and life in all of its transitory states – challenging poetry and photography to work together without illustrating one another.

Henry-Smith’s images have emerged from a long-standing process of witnessing what they have described as “the abstractions of the available.” The photographs themselves exist within a larger constellation of works made across several years and in different locales including: Goosenecks State Park, UT; Catskills, NY; New Orleans, LA; and Brooklyn, NY, among others.

These works respond to scholar and author Kevin Everod Quashie’s question, “Simply, what does a quiet life look like?” (from the book “The Sovereignty of Quiet: Beyond Resistance in Black Culture”) and upon further reflection Henry-Smith, asks back: “What is the threshold of volume? In the garden and the noise, what must be learned from the garble? Making myself porous to potent stillnesses, these photographs are made with a sensitivity to the worlds I am invited to, the secrets we co-create, the tender offerings of the Outdoors: stumbling into a sky ablaze, or met with the charmed gaze of kinship, this methodology informs a long practice in witnessing the abstractions of the available, the unfolding of light and time, glimpses of autofiction if the hand reveals its cards.”

S*an D. Henry-Smith (b. 1992 Brooklyn, NY) is an artist and writer working primarily in poetry, photography, and performance, engaging Black experimentalisms and collaborative practices. Recent readings and performances include Call with Justin Allen and Yulan Grant, The Shed, New York, NY (2020); book launch and reading with E. Jane, Gabrielle Rucker, and Jayson P. Smith, White Columns, New York, NY (2019); Zong! by M. NourbeSe Philip: A Collective Reading with LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs, Erica Hunt, and Rosamond S. King, Poets House, New York, NY (2019); and The Pearl Diver’s Revenge with Imani Elizabeth, by Triple Canopy, New York, NY (2019.) Recent group exhibitions include Harlem Postcards Winter 2020, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York, NY (2020.)

Copies of Wild Peach (Futurepoem, 2020) are available for purchase from the gallery and at futurepoem.com.

A series of online readings will accompany the exhibition. Details to follow.

For further information, contact: info@whitecolumns.org

Events

“Never Created, Never Destroyed” Virtual Reading

White Columns, with artist S*an D. Henry-Smith, is pleased to present the first in a series of virtual readings and conversations in celebration of the artist’s exhibition, “in awe of geometry & mornings”.

For this event Henry-Smith along with poet and performer Justin Allen, artist and photographer Elliott Jerome Brown Jr., and visual artist Kearra Amaya Gopee will come together for a reading and conversation reflecting on language, image, and text in their practices.

January 26, 2021

“in awe of geometry & mornings” reading series

White Columns, with artist S*an D. Henry-Smith, is pleased to present the second in a series of virtual readings and conversations in celebration of the artist’s exhibition, “in awe of geometry & mornings”.

For this event Henry-Smith will come together in sonic kinship with writer and self-taught craftswoman Joselia Rebekah Hughes, poet Imani Elizabeth Jackson, author Taylor Johnson, writer and literary radio experimentalist Gabrielle Octavia Rucker, and author Nikki Wallschlaeger.

February 4, 2021

White Columns, with artist S*an D. Henry-Smith, is pleased to present the third in a series of virtual readings and conversations in celebration of the artist’s exhibition, “in awe of geometry & mornings”.

For this event Henry-Smith will come together in sonic kinship with poet A. H. Jerriod Avant, poet Nabila Lovelace, poet and educator Charleen McClure, author Saretta Morgan, and interdisciplinary artist, writer, and curator Jayson P. Smith.

February 25, 2021

S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Three photographs of varying sizes installed on a white wall. engraved, the smallest work to the left, depicts an aerial view of a square of patterned lines drawn into a dirt ledge overlooking a body of water. what the fire left behind, the largest work in the center depicts smoke rising from a flat grassy plane against a soft light blue and yellow sky. & the roots that rise, the work to the right, depicts the back of a person with long dreaded hair and shirt sleeves rolled to their elbows, standing with their head tilted forward towards the ground. This person is surrounded by large hanging branches, dense green foliage, and large roots protruding from the ground. In the distance is a stream of water. The foreground, including the ledge, the person, roots, and a part of the branch are in a shadow in stark contrast to the light in the background.)
S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Two photographs identical in size installed on a brick wall. The left work, lavender tea, depicts a Black person drinking from a blue teacup, in a domestic setting surrounded by houseplants and windows. Sunlight from the left of the image illuminates one side of the person's face. resting place, the work on the right, depicts an aged wooden blue window sill looking out into a green yard. There is a potted plant to the left, a moth carcass in the center, and a smaller planter with pink flowers to the right. An indiscernible object in the foreground is blurred in the lower left corner.)
S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Four photographs installed on a white wall. Three smaller works are grouped together to the left, aligned in a row to their center. The first work in this group, primordial, depicts a close view of mud and rocks on the edge of a creek, partially covered by soft green algae. The second work, imprint, depicts a section of a pair of legs with pants rolled up over the knees and black leather boots up to their calves, stretched over straw covered mud. There is a red imprint from an unknown object that had been pressed on the outside of the right leg. The third work, desert bloom, depicts a golden desert shrub growing from a rock on rust-colored sand. There is a mesa and blue sky in the background. The fourth work, slightly larger and installed to the right of the group of three, Atlantic beckoning, or just over your shoulder, depicts blue foaming ocean waves, and calm sky of the same color. The tide is breaking on a pile of rocks and the sand on the shore and in the foreground is dreaded hair hanging down and heavily blurred, partially obscuring the view.)
S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021. (Two photographs installed in a corner: one on the right white wall, and one on the left narrow brick wall. The work to the left, & the roots that rise, is significantly bigger. The work to the right, slick trace, depicts a spider in the center of a web hanging from two skinny branches. There is a small brown leaf caught in the web and blurred green foliage in the background.)
S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Three works are installed in a row aligned by centers on a white wall. From left to right, the works are titled: primordial, imprint, and desert bloom.)
S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (A view of all ten photographs installed across from a stairway and entrance to the gallery. Four works are installed on the left white wall and three are installed on the back white wall. One small work is installed in the narrow space to the left of an arch on the brick wall, and two are installed on the right side.)
S*an D. Henry-Smith imprint, 2019 Archival inkjet print, unique 16.25 x 11 in. (A photograph depicting a section of a pair of legs with pants rolled up over the knees and black leather boots up to their calves, stretched over straw covered mud. There is a red imprint from an unknown object that had been pressed on the outside of the right leg.)
S*an D. Henry-Smith Atlantic beckoning, or just over your shoulder, 2019 Archival inkjet print, unique 24.5 x 20 in. (A photograph depicting locks of hair partially obscuring a view of an ocean shore where the tide is breaking on a pile of rocks and the sand.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Three photographs of varying sizes installed on a white wall. engraved, the smallest work to the left, depicts an aerial view of a square of patterned lines drawn into a dirt ledge overlooking a body of water. what the fire left behind, the largest work in the center depicts smoke rising from a flat grassy plane against a soft light blue and yellow sky. & the roots that rise, the work to the right, depicts the back of a person with long dreaded hair and shirt sleeves rolled to their elbows, standing with their head tilted forward towards the ground. This person is surrounded by large hanging branches, dense green foliage, and large roots protruding from the ground. In the distance is a stream of water. The foreground, including the ledge, the person, roots, and a part of the branch are in a shadow in stark contrast to the light in the background.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Two photographs identical in size installed on a brick wall. The left work, lavender tea, depicts a Black person drinking from a blue teacup, in a domestic setting surrounded by houseplants and windows. Sunlight from the left of the image illuminates one side of the person’s face. resting place, the work on the right, depicts an aged wooden blue window sill looking out into a green yard. There is a potted plant to the left, a moth carcass in the center, and a smaller planter with pink flowers to the right. An indiscernible object in the foreground is blurred in the lower left corner.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Four photographs installed on a white wall. Three smaller works are grouped together to the left, aligned in a row to their center. The first work in this group, primordial, depicts a close view of mud and rocks on the edge of a creek, partially covered by soft green algae. The second work, imprint, depicts a section of a pair of legs with pants rolled up over the knees and black leather boots up to their calves, stretched over straw covered mud. There is a red imprint from an unknown object that had been pressed on the outside of the right leg. The third work, desert bloom, depicts a golden desert shrub growing from a rock on rust-colored sand. There is a mesa and blue sky in the background. The fourth work, slightly larger and installed to the right of the group of three, Atlantic beckoning, or just over your shoulder, depicts blue foaming ocean waves, and calm sky of the same color. The tide is breaking on a pile of rocks and the sand on the shore and in the foreground is dreaded hair hanging down and heavily blurred, partially obscuring the view.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021. (Two photographs installed in a corner: one on the right white wall, and one on the left narrow brick wall. The work to the left, & the roots that rise, is significantly bigger. The work to the right, slick trace, depicts a spider in the center of a web hanging from two skinny branches. There is a small brown leaf caught in the web and blurred green foliage in the background.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (Three works are installed in a row aligned by centers on a white wall. From left to right, the works are titled: primordial, imprint, and desert bloom.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith, installation view, 2021 (A view of all ten photographs installed across from a stairway and entrance to the gallery. Four works are installed on the left white wall and three are installed on the back white wall. One small work is installed in the narrow space to the left of an arch on the brick wall, and two are installed on the right side.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith imprint, 2019 Archival inkjet print, unique 16.25 × 11 in. (A photograph depicting a section of a pair of legs with pants rolled up over the knees and black leather boots up to their calves, stretched over straw covered mud. There is a red imprint from an unknown object that had been pressed on the outside of the right leg.)

S*an D. Henry-Smith Atlantic beckoning, or just over your shoulder, 2019 Archival inkjet print, unique 24.5 × 20 in. (A photograph depicting locks of hair partially obscuring a view of an ocean shore where the tide is breaking on a pile of rocks and the sand.)