The Places We Forgot – A Solo Exhibit by Brendan L. Smith

On View: January 29 – February 28, 2021
Virtual Reception: Friday, February 12

Workhouse Arts Center is proud to present: The Places We Forgot, featuring photographs artist Brendan L. Smith has taken of abandoned places across the country he then transforms with layers of melted beeswax, resin, and other materials. The series explores the malleability of memory, that tension between the comforting fog of nostalgia and a sense of melancholy for roads untaken. The dreamlike images possess a strange and forlorn beauty revealed amidst the broken glass, rotting wood, and rusted metal. Our physical spaces often are demolished or gentrified in the name of “progress,” but these abandoned places speak to our collective history and the resounding echoes of our past.

The Places We Forgot Solo Exhibition Reception
Friday, February 12th at 7pm over Facebook Live

Featuring an interview with Brendan Smith with a live walkthrough of The Places We Forgot and musical guest Carrie McKnight

Artwork and Wall Labels

For purchase inquiries, please contact Gallery Manager, Audrey Miller at audreymiller@workhousearts.org or (703) 584-2911.

All That Remains (Ardmore, SD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
20” x 16” x 2”
$330

Ardmore is a ghost town in South Dakota, a strange tableau of abandoned cars, derelict homes, and knee-deep grass. It’s very quiet and there is an underlying sense of mystery. Some of the vacant houses still have furniture in them as if the residents just walked away one day and never returned.

Memory of a Dream (Ardmore, SD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
20” x 16” x 2”
$330

La Puerta (Abiquiu, NM)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
20” x 16” x 2”
$330

Abiquiu is a small village in northern New Mexico that was the home of artist Georgia O’Keefe. This aging adobe building is next to the village’s central plaza and Catholic church.

Stop Dreaming Start Doing (Death Valley Junction)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
16” x 20” x 2”
$330

Death Valley Junction is a tiny community in the Mojave Desert just east of Death Valley National Park. The quirky Amargosa Opera House and Hotel is the only open business which is located next to a giant abandoned borax mining facility and vacant crumbling buildings.

Akimbo (Amboy, CA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
24” x 24” x 2”
$500

Once a major stop along the iconic Route 66, Amboy is now a ghost town with one working gas station next to an abandoned motel, derelict homes, and a demolished school.

Out of Reach (Eastern State Penitentiary, Philadelphia, PA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
20” x 16” x 2”
$330

Eastern State Penitentiary was the first penitentiary in the world, a giant prison where inmates were supposed to repent of their crimes while living in solitary cells. The crumbling prison where the gangster Al Capone once served time has been preserved in its dilapidated condition as a historic site.

Panes of Memory (Baltimore, MD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
16” x 20” x 2”
$330

Off Route 66 (Petrified National Forest, AZ)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
16” x 20” x 2”
$330

Broken Panes (Buckeystown, MD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
16” x 20” x 2”
$330

Ripped Torn (Ardmore, SD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
16” x 20” x 2”
$330

Down the Hall (Amboy, CA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
20” x 16” x 2”
$330

After the Final Bell (Ardmore, SD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
16” x 20” x 2”
$330

X Marks the Spots

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
16” x 20” x 2”
$330

Earth and Sky (Death Valley Junction, CA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
10” x 8” x 2”
$150

8 Women 4 Gallons (Amboy, CA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, rope fibers, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
8” x 10” x 2”
$150

This sign was left behind from a mysterious art installation in a room at an abandoned motel in Amboy, a ghost town in the Mojave Desert on Route 66.

KEEP OUT (Ardmore, SD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
10” x 8” x 2”
$150

The Green Miasma (Ardmore, SD)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
8” x 10” x 2”
$150

Find the Missing (Death Valley Junction, CA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
8” x 10” x 2”
$150

It Was Always for Her (Charleston, SC)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
8” x 10” x 2”
$150

Coffee House (High Plains Homestead, NE)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
10” x 8” x 2”
$150

The walls and roof of this aging barn in the grasslands of Nebraska were made from flattened Folgers coffee cans which have grown rusty and pock-marked over the decades.

You Are My Clean Needle (Amboy, CA) | You Are My Dirty Needle XOXO (Amboy, CA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
10” x 8” x 2”
$150

An abandoned house was tagged with strange graffiti in the bathrooms.

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
10” x 8” x 2”
$150

On the Salt Flats (Death Valley National Park, CA)

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
10” x 8” x 2”
Not for Sale

My two sons are walking across the Badwater Basin Salt Flats, the lowest point in North America at 282 feet below sea level. The area was once the site of a salty inland lake which evaporated in the intense heat, leaving beautiful salt deposits.

Laze and Gaze

2020
Digital photo, melted beeswax, damar resin, mica powder pigments, and acrylic on cradled birch panel
8” x 10” x 2”
$150

ACME Valve Cores and Moss Works

2020
Moss, vintage ACME box lid, and leaf in two wooden bowls
$120

Nature 2.0

2020
Moss, feathers, vintage glass bottle, circuit board, computer wire, and spray paint in wicker basket
10” x 10” x 5”
$100

Our relationship with nature has grown more tenuous with our rampant consumption fueling climate change, unleashing massive hurricanes and devastating wildfires. Technology can be a boon or a curse for the environment depending on how we use it.

Nature Rebooted

2021
Circuit board, moss, feather, cactus spike, and spray paint in wood box
12” x 14” x 12”
$150

Do You Have a Light

2021
Moss, vintage cigarette lighter, wood bowl, stick, and spray paint in wood box
$180

Blue Ridge Products

2020
Vintage asbestos cement can, rusty iron spike, and moss in wood box
7” x 10” x 7”
$100

Nature Toolchest

2020-21
Moss, bark, dried mushroom, stick, circuit boards, computer wire, nail gun nails, vintage matchbook covers, and spray paint in metal toolbox
8” x 15” x 9”
$150

Blood and Rubble

2021
Vintage stereoview cards, vintage photo, American flag, shell casings, pocket watch parts, and lace handkerchief in velvet-lined wood box
12” x 16” x 12”
$200

World War I has receded from our memories and the towns that were reduced to rubble have been rebuilt. It’s doubtful that many lessons were learned after the deaths of 9 million soldiers. World War II followed just two decades later.

On the Slaughter Floor

2020
Melted vinyl record, rusty trap, American flag, shell casings, bullets, and spray paint in metal cage
$150 (All proceeds benefit Sandy Hook Promise nonprofit group)

By blocking gun reform legislation, Republican politicians have enabled the murder of thousands of Americans from gun violence, including 20 children and 6 adults who were shot and killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School. The question now is what are we going to do about it?

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