Rhonda Smith: Solastalgia

January 20 - February 28, 2021
Kingston Conversation: Wednesday, February 3, 2021, 7:00-8:00 pm EST - Featuring Rhonda Smith with Randy Garber >> Register here for Zoom.

  • Rhonda Smith

    Pre-History, the Mountains, clay, papier mache, pigment, wire, 24 x 24 x 9 inches, 2020.

    Pre-History, the Mountains

Artist Page
Press Release
Reynolds, Pamela. "10 Art Exhibits To Lighten Up Dark Winter Days." WBUR, The ARTery, January 21, 2021.
Reynolds, Pamela. "At Kingston Gallery, Two Artists Explore Nature's Beauty And Loss." WBUR, The ARTery, January 29, 2021
Newbery, Emma. "In Conversation: Zanele Muholi and Rhonda Smith." Kingston Blog, March 18, 2021.

Artist Statement

"[Solastalgia] is the pain experienced when there is recognition that the place where one resides and that one loves is under immediate assault (physical desolation). It is manifest in an attack on one's sense of place, in the erosion of the sense of belonging (identity) to a particular place and a feeling of distress (psychological desolation) about its transformation." Glenn Albrecht

Instead of a requiem for our planet let's sing its praise. Surely both are required of us. Witnessing pieces of the biosphere vanish, sometimes with no hope of re-emergence, ancient forests burning, land drowning, vertebrates and invertebrates bulldozed under, is deeply painful. Imagine yourself the last of the species. Yet, we see a glimmer of hope. In the early spring 2020 amid this horrible pandemic, when the entire world was in shock and we humans, en masse, had to accept helplessness and ignorance, humbling to be sure, almost all ground and air vehicles stopped. Though power plants still belched away, the sky cleared to bluer than blue and silence reigned. Birds could hear each other at last. There was an 18% drop in carbon emissions.

Our destructive behaviors towards other species and one another disturb profoundly. What is missing? I have been deeply in love with certain lands and waters. I believe that intimacy, which returns one hundred fold, yields a respect and reverent awe. In this show I work with clay, papier mache and wire to create imaginations of lands that are disappearing, Quasi narrative, somewhat abstract these objects suggest geographies that appear now in the rearview mirror. The appeal to our perhaps inherent pastoral nature brings equilibrium to the inner life. As we observe nature instead of interfering, that experience of life being lived, reflected back to us, calms the spirit.

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