Category Archives: Exhibitions

Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic almost ready to go!

Installation shot upstairs at the Round Tower

Installation shot upstairs at the Round Tower

My show in the Round Tower at  Black Swan Arts in Frome is just about ready to roll! All the work is hung and just needs a final tweak and there are information boards to get up, then we will be ready for the private view tomorrow night, Friday 6th November 2015 from 6-8pm. The show is open to the public 7th-28th November 2015

Apart from the larger works on canvas I have done especially for this show there is a selection of recent works on paper including pieces that were in the Wells Art Contemporary and the RWA Drawn shows, if you missed them there. I have also included a group of small studies like the ones that proved so popular at Bridport Open Studios: they are a nice introduction to my work and make nice gifts for loved ones or yourself!

There are also two participatory pieces: one for artists and one for all visitors. I’ll write more about these in subsequent posts.

Upstairs at the Round Tower - installation shot

another installation shot upstairs at the Round Tower

The Binding Grid of Creative Connection

"Dance Steps" abstract painting by David Smith

“Dance Steps”
Acrylic on canvas 122cm x 122cm A poor reproduction of something that has little to do with the post!

I have decided on “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection” as the working title for the collaborative piece I will make during my “Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic” show at Black Swan Arts, Frome, next month. I have a feeling that the title may get added to with something in brackets, but we will see! So what does that mean? Well, it is a celebration of the incredibly positive and affirming nature of my experience with Twitter and the connections I have made with other creative people. The piece will be an attempt to anchor physically (bind) the goodwill and connected creativity of those people and to show my gratitude for their support. I have called it “Grid” because I often work with grids but also because of the idea of the National Grid: lines of power which spread energy across the land. I love the idea that groups of creative people are coming together through Twitter to create “ecologies of talent”, what Brian Eno refers to as “scenius”, the talent of a community (genius being the talent of an individual) where all sorts of people with a range of skills, abilities and facilities combine and contribute to enable great art and ideas to emerge. As Eno says in this clip from the John Peel Lecture the other day, it takes a lot of help from all sorts of people, including people sometimes refered to as hangers-on, for a creative scene to flourish. I think Twitter has the ability to support such “sceniuses” and “The Binding Grid of Creative Connection” is my way of giving it recognition. I have no idea how the piece will progress but I now have an idea how I will start the process, but you’ll have to wait for that.

One thing I have thought about is including some of the envelopes too – in fact at one point I thought of not opening the envelopes but displaying the work unseen! Those who know my work will recognise my fascination for the unseen, obscured, veiled and redacted from other work not least of which #Letter365. But I have said to everyone that I will give them a public credit for their contribution and mostly wont know who things are from if I don’t open the envelopes!

Images of some contibutions to The Binding Grid of Creative Connection

A few black square contributions

There seems to be a good response from people, but as I am not able to just pop in to Black Swan Arts I have no real idea exactly how many there might be so far. Thank you to all the kind and generous folk who have already sent contributions. More will always be welcome so get yours to me as soon as you can. So if you are an artist in any discipline please send your contribution to me c/o Black Squares, The Round Tower, Black Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BB. Please do it NOW! I will be creating the piece during the show which runs from 6 November – 29 November 2015 so if you wanted you could bring me your piece (I will accept submissions up to 21 November) but you know you’ll forget – so do it NOW! Don’t forget, when you send or deliver a piece you pass all physical and intellectual property rights to it as an object or idea over to me to use in any way that I see fit.

NB can you please make sure you put the correct postage on your package!

Also please note: I need to have your physical contribution. So if you make a digital piece please produce hard copy for me to use. If you are a musician or a poet or dancer or whatever you can still take part as long as you make your contribution into some kind of hard-copy 4″ x 4″ submission.

Footnote: thanks to Austin Kleon for reminding me in “Show Your Work” about Brian Eno’s concept of scenius

Selected for RWA 163rd Annual Open Exhibition

The Stone Archive - watercolour by David Smith

“The Stone Archive (Fields of Oblivion 2)”
Watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm

I am pleased to say that “The Stone Archive (Fields of Oblivion 2)” has been selected for the RWA 163rd Annual Open Exhibition in Bristol. It is difficult deciding which open competitions are of value, but the RWA attracts a large number of entries, has a professional process and good quality judges so I feel proud to have been chosen for inclusion and will be showing with some other excellent artists. The Varnishing Day Lunch and Private View are this Saturday, The show is open to the public from 4 October to the 29 November 2015

Shortlisted for Wells Art Contemporary

Wells Art Contemporary 2015 shortlist

Wells Art Contemporary 2015 shortlist (screengrab from WAC website) featuring my name

I am delighted and honoured to be included on the shortlist for this year’s Wells Art Contemporary Awards. It is quite a new open competition for contemporary visual art that is gaining praise and respect in Britain and abroad. One of the reasons I entered was the quality of artists who entered in previous years, but the main reason was the high calibre of the judges who this year are Mariele Neudecker (Sculptor and multimedia artist), Donald Smith (Director of Exhibitions, Chelsea Space, who curated an excellent Derek Jarman show a while back) and Richard Wentworth (Sculptor and conceptual artist) These three judges initially viewed all the submissions anonymously and then the resulting shortlist was reviewed by a further panel “the 45 Park Lane Artists” comprising Sir Peter Blake, Brendan Neiland, Bruce McLean, Christian Furr, Joe Tilson, Martin Fuller, Patrick Hughes, Brad Faine, Donald Smith, and Tom Phillips.This process produced the final choice of works selected for the Wells exhibition which runs 9-24 October 2015 at the Wells and Mendip Museum. The prize winners  will be agreed after the selected works have been curated. (The curator is Roy Ackerman.)

The piece that has been selected is a drawing, “Double Erasure – that soft spot in my heart” (pictured below)

Abstract graphite drawing by david Smith

“Double Erasure – that soft spot in my heart”
Multiply-erased graphite drawing on Canaletto paper 500mm x 700mm

Open call to all artists for collaborative piece

"That Matter We Talked About" Acrylic painting on canvas by David Smith

“That Matter We Talked About”
Acrylic on canvas 400mm x 400mm

For my next show in the Round Tower at Black Swan Arts, Frome, I want to do a couple of collaborative pieces and for the first of them I need the help of other artists. The working title of the show is “Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic” and I want artists to make something, anything, that is their interpretation of or idea about that theme. It can be anything at all, in any format or media as long as it is exactly 4″ x 4″.

So if you are an artist in any discipline please send your contribution to me c/o Black Squares, The Round Tower, Black Swan Arts, 2 Bridge Street, Frome, Somerset BA11 1BB. Please do it NOW! I will be creating the piece during the show which runs from 6 November – 29 November 2015 so if you wanted you could bring me your piece (I will accept submissions up to 21 November) but you know you’ll forget – so do it NOW!

There is no higher purpose, no charitable intent, other than to create an interesting piece of art that is influenced by the chaos of multiple artists. I do not promise that your work will be used and if it is used it may not be obviously visible (those of you who know my work know that the work is often unseen!) When you send or deliver a piece you pass all physical and intellectual property rights to it as an object or idea over to me to use in any way that I see fit. Yes, I am asking you to make a small gift to me of your work with no chance of anything in return except the satisfaction that you will have played a small part in a web of art.

The one thing I do promise is that every artist from whom I receive something will get a publicly-visible credit at the exhibition. That name check may in itself become an artwork, who knows?

It is quite likely that I will also tweet the image and name of pieces sent in, but I make no promises on that in case time and numbers forbid.

So get cracking on your “Black Squares, Black Lines & Black Magic” submission and send it as soon as you can.  Thank you very much in advance

*PS I need to have a physical contribution. So if you make a digital piece please produce hard copy for me to use. If you are a musician or a poet or dancer or whatever you can still take part as long as you make your contribution into some kind of hard-copy 4″ x 4″ submission.

Black squares, black lines and black magic

Abstract black square construction by David Smith

“Cool It”
Acrylic, Indian ink & metal on board 200mm x 200mm

Riding on the success of Bridport Open Studios I am launching myself headlong into preparations for my next show. It’s going to be in the Round Tower at Black Swan Arts in Frome starting 6 November 2015 under the working title, “Black squares, black lines & black magic”. It is a really brilliant space and I am determined to create a show that takes the building into consideration rather than just arranging my pictures nicely round the walls (round being the operative word!) I am also determined that it will not be just a static display: I want the show to evolve over the three weeks it is open. I haven’t the luxury of a proper residency, but I will be there each day the show is open and I hope to develop site specific work during that time. Of course the more people who come through and engage with me the less work will I be able to do, so I have planned two participatory pieces that will help ensure something new gets finished during the show – “with a little help from my friends”!

The first of these pieces will involve the help of other artists. After my meeting at the Black Swan tomorrow I will post an open call to artists to submit their take on the theme “Black squares, black lines & black magic”. I will be looking for submissions in any materials or media but they must be exactly 4″ by 4″. If you send something in it may be used in any way I choose, so you mustn’t expect to necessarily recognise your piece in the finished work, though I will publicly credit each artist. More details to follow very soon but in the meantime get your thinking caps on and get those creative juices flowing!

The other participatory piece will be an homage to Bob Law. As a painter of black paintings Bob Law has to feature somewhere in the process of making this show. I will be asking the help of all visitors in the creation of this piece and though I have got it pretty much planned out I will wait till the exhibition opens to introduce it.

Oh, and don’t think that just because “black” appears 3 times in the working title that everything is going to be dark and sombre. Those of you who follow my work will know that my black squares are often neither black nor square! But there again, people who know me know I can become a little “overfocussed” – dare I say “obsessional”? – which could mean it all does end up pretty monochrome! You’ll have to wait and see.

Colourful Black Square 1 - abstract painting by David Smith

“Colourful Black Square 1”
Acrylic on board 200mm x 200mm

Bridport Open Studios was a great success for me

Abstract painting by David Smith

“An Index of Metals (Thank You Brian and Robert)”
Acrylic on canvas 400mm x 400mm

I am delighted to report that I sold 15 pieces during Bridport Open Studios and generated a lot of good feedback and met some wonderful people.  My new works on canvas were particularly well received and i sold “An Index of Metals (Thank You Brian and Robert)” pictured above. I also sold “The Bit They Know About You” (pictured below) which is one of my favourite pieces, so I am particularly pleased that someone has seen its merits. I hope it gives the buyers much pleasure for many years.

The Bit They Know About You - abstract drawing by David Smith

“The Bit They Know About You”
Acrylic and Indian ink on Saunders Waterford paper 559mm × 762mm

I suppose I am now going to have to change my Twitter header as the artwork I was using, “Mystery Evolves” (below) has also gone to a new home. I am fortunate too that quite a few smaller studies and collages sold, as well as the larger pieces mentioned in previous posts.

"Mystery Evolves" - abstract, minimalist drawing by David Smith

“Mystery Evolves”
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm

Open Studio this August Bank Holiday weekend

Image of artist's studio

Corner of my studio

The first two days of Bridport Open Studios saw a steady stream of interested visitors and some good sales – and that was after me not really being set up properly. It’s a little more organised now and who knows, I might even be able to say I was ready! I am pleased to be showing a wide range of my work including new work on canvas, erasure drawings, field drawings, new watercolour pieces and a range of small “affordable” studies. I have aslo set aside some space for a selection of #Collage365 work

#Collage365 work in the studio

A selection of #Collage365 is on show at the studio during Bridport Open Studios

I also have some concertina books for sake too:

Small studies and artit's books at my studio

Small studies and artit’s books at my studio

Good response to my work at Bridport Open Studios

Outfall 2 - drawing in ink and watercolour by David Smith

Outfall 2
Ink & watercolour on paper
559mm × 762mm

I have been pleased with the quality of visitors to my Open Studios this weekend. Most people have displayed a keen interest in my work and I’ve enjoyed meeting new people and talking about art. I’m also pleased that I have sold something each day – including today when I was technically not open! A visitor over the weekend called this morning to say they had decided to by “Outfall 2”, the piece pictured above. It’s quite a special piece for me and I am delighhted it has found an appreciative home.

I have also sold some of the small studies I framed up and another larger piece, “You Were Born And So You’re Free”

Abstract minimalist drawing by David Smith

You Were Born And So You’re Free
Ink on Somerset paper 559mm × 762mm

Abstract graphite drawing by david Smith

“Double Erasure – that soft spot in my heart”
Multiply-erased graphite drawing on Canaletto paper 500mm x 700mm

It’s that time again and now I have a studio at St Michael’s in Bridport town centre it would be foolish of me not to open up and join in Bridport Open Studios. Since completing my #Letter365 project I have been busy catching up on a couple of years’ neglect in the garden but I have also been getting on with new work.

Black square collage by David Smith

Thermopylae (not as black as you think)
Collage, acrylic & ink on board 306mm x 306mm

I completed the erasure drawing I was talking about earlier (shown above) and have been working on black squares (as usual not always black, not always square!) and various field pieces. Some of the field pieces are on canvas! That’s the first time I have used canvas or completed a piece on canvas for 43 years! (It has been interesting!) I aim to add images of some of this work in the next few days.

I have also been moved to return to using wet-in-wet watercolour again and have been creating large field pieces, starting a new series of work under the working title of “The Stone Archive – Fields of Oblivion”. I will post some of these later too, including some small pieces I have framed up especially for Bridport Open Studios. These small nicely-framed pieces are designed as affordable introductions to my work and would make great gifts for loved ones or yourself! They are the sort of things people point to in my sketchbooks and say, “Ooh, that’s nice!” Since I have been working on larger sheets than my sketchbooks when I am trying out some ideas (especially the watercolour and acrylic stuff as I can do more while the paint dries) I thought I would isolate some of the ones that work best and frame them for sale.

As usual there is a “6×9” show to accompany Bridport Open Studios. This year it occupies the foyer and cafe at Bridport Arts Centre and I have entered some specially made pieces that explore my current themes and, some, move into new territory. The show opens on Wednesday 19 August and runs till 18 September after which it transfers to Black Swan Arts at Frome.

You can find details of my opening hours etc on the Bridport Open Studios website