Born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Luke Barber-Smith studied at the School of Visual Arts (BFA) and currently works in New York. He has been included in exhibitions '1981' at Parkhaus, Dusseldorf DE (Luke Barber-Smith and David Ostrowski); 'CITY LIMIT' at the Journal Gallery, organized by Colin Snapp, Brooklyn NY; clorox/envy at stillhouse group, Brooklyn NY; 'AEF' at Duve Gallery, Berlin DE; The Kings County Biennial, Brooklyn NY, curated by James Fuentes; ‘total power exchange’ at Galerie Manque NY; 'dear mother earth' at Jericho Ditch, Portsmouth VA; and solo exhibitions 'in memorial' at 175 Canal St. MAGIC, New York, NY (2015); 'ATLANTIC CITY' at Loudhailer Los Angeles CA (2015); 'AON Center' at Primetime 135 Huntington st., Brooklyn NY (2011)
In his latest exhibition, Atlantic City, Luke Barber-Smith confronts viewers with a stark blend of transparency and obscurity. The concept of transparency can be interpreted in a variety of ways, but in this context Barber-Smith’s focus is on that which is known, recognizable, or useful. Though the subject matter is clear and readily identifiable, these banal encounters with the everyday begin to transform into otherworldly scenarios. There's a meditative bemusement the artist brings to the fore, presenting an ambience of imagined possibility and romanticism. Significantly, much (if not all) of the mystery evoked by these works derives from digital modifications of originally photographed subject-matter. Barber-Smith blankets his themes in a digital mist, which allows the works in Atlantic City to hover somewhere between the symbolic and the iconic. The tactility of the objects and places he documents is denied, and the proscription of function that makes buildings appear socially useful becomes alien. The lived-in bulk that gives these structures their solidity becomes a one-sided surface, an abstract sheen. Like seeing a face behind a veil, if you have to search for form or the indication of an emotional response, the thing you are seeking magnifies in intensity. Similarly, these works become uncannily monumental (often contrary to their scale) due to the interactivity of having to search out what one is actually looking at. The architecture in Barber-Smith's photographs have a spectral quality about them that belies their impenetrability, like ahistorical monoliths erected to appear as though they were a plenum of empty space.
Books and Publications
2016 MASKS, Luke Barber-Smith; Edition of 50, published by Pau Wau Puplications pauwaupublications.com
2013 Luke Barber-Smith, PECO, TOP Magazine, written by Elizabeth Lovero
2012 ANP quarterly, 'THE HOLSTER'
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