To the Lighthouse: Catching Sight of the Salt Cellar

Photography, text, graphite and charcoal on paper.


Current and ongoing work.

A project which documents the process of  rediscovery, as I re-read To The Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf.

The photographic text work was part of the Salon for a Speculative Future group exhibition at Chisenhale Studios in London. It will also be included in a forthcoming book to be published by MA BIBLIOTHEQUE. Available to purchase here


I remember A level English lessons with To the Lighthouse. Slowly and painfully decoding each line of text under strict instruction. Interpretation was painful. Attempting to forcibly squeeze any understanding into the predetermined authoritative model of meaning. Headaches and hatred were the hangover. 

Years later, a copy of the book (gifted for a birthday) remains closed on a bookshelf.

Two vaguely remembered fragments pricked my curiosity:

  • The salt cellar 

  • Lily Briscoe’s struggle to assert her vision through painting

These symbols act as the impetus to re-open the book, to negotiate my own encounter, and follow Woolf’s suggestion to read freely, without convention. Unobserved.

Following my own read(writ)ing method of making in response to reading the resulting work may act as a devoted yet error ridden performance of Woolf’s writing.



Brushing off Shadows of Doubt

watercolour graphite, graphite powder, graphite sticks

Work in the forthcoming Prosaic Show

21 Sept-31 October 2020

at the Globe Arts in Huddersfield

RachelSmith Brushing off Shadows of Doub