The Arts and Humanities Alliance (AHA!) presents "Journey's Home," a display of printmaking and collage by Rhonda Smith. An opening reception of Smith's exhibition will be held Friday, March 1, 5:30 7:30 p.m. at the Fire Hall Gallery, 108 N. George Street, Charles Town.
The exhibit will continue thorugh March 29. The gallery is open to the public Wednesday-Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Smith is the Chair of Shepherd University's Department of Contemporary Art and Theater.
In 2008 Smith began making prints using sheets of Plexiglas that had been protecting table surfaces in her studio. After years of cutting and gluing on these Plexiglas sheets she was preparing to toss them out, when she realized the rich array of texture on these surfaces might result in interesting prints. By overprinting the various plates and creating somewhat specific images she found a surface that when printed produced a tangle of lines suggesting maps and coordinates.
Smith has been able to visit many places in the world. Travel and encounters with the art and culture of other peoples is a powerful motivator in the creation of her artwork. Her travels to West Africa led her to consider her work as a form of talisman or amulet. Among the Tuareg and Bamana people of West Africa there is an understanding that the amulets and talisman contain the power of knowledge attainable only through personal commitment. Smith feels that art is a similar investment that requires both the maker and the viewer to seek a greater understanding to appreciate the power within the object. For Rhonda Smith each print, each collage is a talisman, a prayer and a wish to share with the viewer.
Smith's work is involved in the exploration of journey and destinations as a means of discovery, and/or reconnecting with the relationships one has with home and family. This exhibition "Journey's Home" all deal with these concepts.
"My work is a journey and it requires that I journey, seek, discover and rekindle my inspiration.," Smith said. Smith's next journey is to Italy and Spain with students from the Department of Contemporary Art and Theater.