see full article Joshua Wade Smith

Traveling from Baltimore to Washington is usually uneventful, although some fans of cliches about the two cities endow the trip with metaphorical drama. Joshua Wade Smith’s “Here nor There” doesn’t really concern itself with either place, however. The Hamiltonian Gallery show focuses on the in-between and the process of movement.

Smith didn’t take a scenic route. His photographs, videos and constructions document a course that followed, as much as possible, the Amtrak/MARC right-of-way. There are also three multimedia images of a backpack frame, much like the one that was a motif of Workingman Collective’s 2011 show at Hemphill Fine Arts. The objects — which include, most literally, a pair of muddy sneakers — stand for the excursion.

The artist also reconstructed the journey in the gallery, where he built a 40-foot section of track (not to scale) that leads to a mirror. Running this section of simulated railroad, Smith writes, allows him to become closer to “my ‘self’.” Of course, it’s possible to achieve a similar meditative state just by settling into an Amfleet coach and focusing on the middle distance as the train traverses Laurel.

Here nor There

on view through Feb. 9 at Hamiltonian Gallery, 1353 U St. NW, Suite 101; 202-332-1116;hamiltoniangallery.com.

 

Jenkins is a freelance writer.