Still Life with Dried Peonies & Wasp Nest, Alison A. Smith

Alison A. Smith is a photographer who is interested in the built environment, domestic spaces and arranged still life. She earned an MFA in studio art – photography with Distinction from the Lamar Dodd School of Art at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia in 2010. She earned a BFA in studio art – photography with a minor in Women’s Studies from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio in 2006. Her work has been exhibited in national photography galleries, centers, university galleries and museums.

The works in the series, Vestige: Still Life, capture arranged, small-scale domestic scenes inspired by the classic and contemporary still life genre. The compositions feature a mixture of “antique” objects — purchased or inherited, cultivated or wild plantings from the land around my home or newly produced goods. I create subtle tensions by contrasting the natural and artificial or by presenting the objects in different contexts in order to accentuate a sense of ambiguity or mystery. The tensions in the compositions serve as metaphors for clashes between personal and societal expectations and the ambivalences such tensions create. Serving both symbolic and indexical functions, the objects and the use of only ambient, natural light also points to the passage of time, changing of seasons, growth, aging and loss.