These works by Sei Smith are founded in the concept of phenomenology, a mode of thinking established at the dawn of the twentieth century by Edmund Husserl. Phenomenology emphasizes the act of being aware of one’s own life as it occurs. It suggests that we interact with the phenomena of our world through experience, and that these experiences result in us being people who play, think, feel, reflect. The revelations we form--the ones we find to be most true--occur to us because we choose to be unique and subjective individuals. As you consider the course of your own sensory involvement with these artworks, Smith’s kinship with these ideas becomes apparent. For instance, the neon shadows cast over plains of white act as invitations that draw the eye’s attention before sustaining your gaze. An intense quality of focus can be felt in the presence of these works, one that grows rare in our time as we accustom ourselves to increasingly prevalent forms of communication and technology.
Smith has said that the shapes, auras, and textures of Reflections 2 are unavoidable elements: “But to see is to be attracted, and to be attracted is to desire a kind of unattainable understanding. This is, to me, the beginning of every experience I’ve had with art.”