Pulsing with lime green light, the curved arc of a set of drawn curtains runs along the screen of a cinema auditorium in 'Odeon', a photograph by Bridget Smith. Beneath them, serried rows of red velvet seats ripple like waves of the sea. Springing from the gloom of the auditorium, 'Odeon' is an image of expectation and beauty. The sense of anticipation as we wait for the curtains to swish theatrically open is a universal experience shared by cinema-goers around the world. Yet the absence of an audience in 'Odeon' is unsettling. Although we are waiting for the film to begin, there is a feeling that we may be waiting for some time. Smith's photograph is also a seductive image in which the arc of the curtains, its falling vertical folds and the horizontal bands of black above and below, transform it into a bold abstract image.
Born in Essex, Bridget Smith once worked as a cinema usherette, an experience that helped shape her interest in cinemas as constructed spaces of fantasy and artifice. She produced a series of large-scale photographs of auditoria, including 'Odeon', 'Curzon' and 'Empire', reminders of the days before multiplexes. A graduate of Central School of Art and Design, and Goldsmith's, London, Smith has exhibited her work widely in international solo and group shows. Her work is held in public and private collections around the world including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, and the Denver Art Museum.
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