Category Archives: Paper

“338 expressions on the journey of Hylaeus brevicornis”

“338 expressions on the journey of Hylaeus brevicornis” - abstract drawing with text by David Smith

“338 expressions on the journey of Hylaeus brevicornis”
Ink on handmade Indian rag paper mounted on archival cotton paper with printed text
70cm x 38cm

Although I had been invited to participate in the first of Lydia Needle’s “50 Bees: the interconnectedness of all things”, I was too busy to be able to accept. So it was wonderful to have a second chance this year. Lydia has chosen 50 British bee species and allocated one to each of the artists involved. Each artist has created their own original work in response, which will be paired with Lydia’s amazing needlefelt representations of the bees encased in antique containers. A really diverse and talented group of artists and makers have made some phenomenal work, so the exhibition at the Richard Jeffries Museum in Swindon is worth a visit if you are that way.

My bee is Hylaeus brevicornis, the Yellow-face Short-horned Bee. Lydia apologised that there was not enough space to have a full artist profile for everyone but asked for a 100-word statement describing the process of making the work. This is mine:

“I make abstract work, often minimalist and repetitive, that explores the patterns and processes of Nature, especially the interplay between chaos and control. To be asked to create work about this tiny bee was outside my typical process. To do the task justice involved much research, scribbling, play, thinking, interconnecting with everything, planning, discarding and then being somewhat more reasonable. It became clear that I could never explain the process of arriving at the work in my allotted 100 words, so I made some the words part of the artwork. I will only explain more to whoever buys the piece.”

Those of you who share my joy in complying with rules will note there are exactly 100 words in the statement. That might give you an idea on how you might access the work

The show runs till 24th June 2018

“Double Erasure – Winter Field” does double Wells

Double Erasure: Winter Field - drawing on paper by David Smith

“Double Erasure: Winter Field”
Multiply erased graphite on Canaletto paper 495mm x 695mm

I was delighted a couple of years back to have this piece, “Double Erasure: Winter Field”, shortlisted for the Wells Art Contemporary Awards. That was at the historic Bishop’s Palace at Wells in Somerset. I am doubly delighted that it is now selected for the inaugural show, “Connections” at the stunning new Wells Maltings cultural hub in Wells-Next-The-Sea, Norfolk

It’s always great to be included in an exhibition but the reason I am especially pleased to be part of this show is my history with the North Norfolk Coast, particularly Holkham Bay which is just to the East of Wells-Next-The-Sea. Work about that beach and the landscape behind it sparked the idea of my Tidelines project (which I hope one day soon to fulfill) and was instrumental in me reconnecting to my art practice and subsequently committing to it as a full-time, professional engagement.

This piece is from my erasure and redaction work, rooted in the landscape and coastline, which explores how the traces of history and events are never completely obliterated but can still be read and forever influence the present. The marks are made and erased, made and erased, like the similar-yet-unique patterns in the sand are made and erased twice each day. This piece specifically relates to Holkham West Sands, the marshes behind and the Essex marshes where I grew up.

“The Transformed Land” takes another form

"Solid IV" Mixed media drawing by David Smith

“Solid IV”
Mixed media drawing on handmade Indian ecopaper 30cm x30cm approx

“The Transformed Land” show I was part of at The Brewhouse, Taunton, and Circle Hospital in Bath last year is reappearing in a refreshed version at ACEarts, Somerton, Somerset from 26 May 2018 to 16 June 2018. Curated by Paul Newman and featuring a stellar group of artists including Linn O’Carroll, Deborah Westmancoat, Howard Phipps, David Daniels, Andrew Lansley and Jennifer Newbury amongst others.

Shortlisted for the Bath Open Art Prize

This Is Where The Party Ends - abstract drawing by David Smith

This Is Where The Party Ends
Graphite, ink & Magic Tape on Snowdon cartridge paper 59cm x 84cm

I really like the energy of Bath’s FaB Festival and the Bath Open Art Prize that for me is at its heart, so I am hugely pleased to be included in a show which unashamedly includes work that is quirky and unusual. The show is on at 44AD from 25 May to 10 June 2018

Selected for the Bath Society of Artists show

"A Few Lines Where Once I Danced" Abstract drawing in ink on paper by David Smith

“A Few Lines Where Once I Danced”
Ink on Snowdon cartridge 59cm x 84cm

I am delighted that “A Few Lines Where Once I Danced” has been selected for the Bath Society of Artists show at the Victoria Art Gallery where it will be exhibited until 12 May 2018. It’s a particularly fine selection this year, well curated and hung, so worth a visit!

“For Musicians Who Like Art”

"For Musicians Who Like Music" concertina drawing by David Smith

“For Musicians Who Like Art”
Acrylic on concertina sketchbook A5 format approx 5m long

Last week I also finished this piece I spoke of a few of posts ago, “”For Musicians Who Like Art”. The title is a play on Andrew Hamilton’s “For People Who Like Art” and whilst it is not meant to be representative of the music it is inspired by it. I have a lot of ideas how I might progress this work – and other work related to music. I am aiming to start trying some of them out on canvas and in collage, today, and I am keen to try out some ideas as monoprints soon.

"For Musicians Who Like Music" concertina drawing by David Smith

“For Musicians Who Like Art”
Acrylic on concertina sketchbook A5 format approx 5m long

“If It’s OK With Rachel It’s OK With Me”

"If It's OK With Rachel It's OK With Me" abstract drawing by David Smith

“If It’s OK With Rachel It’s OK With Me”
Inktense pencils and Ink on St Cuthbert’s paper 559mm × 762mm

This is a piece that I started maybe a year ago! I finally made time to finish it off. I suppose it fits in my colour field drawings but it has a closer connection to my Tidelines work

Complicit

"Complicit l"  - abstract monoprint by David Smith

“Complicit l”
Plant extract stains on Snowdon Cartridge 59cm x 84cm

I have been working on this series since the turn of the year. They are, perhaps, the most political works I have ever made. I have always tried to lead an ethically decent life: I’ve campaigned on ecological issues, been on marches, try to buy locally, gardened organically and yet I rarely openly touch on these issues in my work. In my collages and Tidelines work I have certainly hinted at my anger and despair at the way we dump things in the oceans and my titles for pictures give the game away, but this is the first time I have started to explore my conflicted feelings about our consumerism and it’s intertwining with a capitalist system which is clearly breaking society and our environment. At last, everyone seems to be talking about the scourge of plastics, a dream gone wrong, and what we can do to cut down on our use of it before it totally chokes life here on the planet. This has encouraged me to deeply look again at what I can do to use less of the things that damage our world and I find that it is almost impossible to be free of complicity.

So I am starting from the standpoint of a favourite quote from Beth Orton and am trying to  “…learn the trick to turn|What’s not so pretty|Into something more beautiful”. I will be writing more about the series and the story behind these monoprints, but it needs a clearer mind before I do.

"Complicit l"  - abstract monoprint of plant extract stains

“Complicit l” (detail)
Plant extract stains on Snowdon Cartridge 59cm x 84cm

Art-as-art, Art-as-art, Yeah!

"Art-as-art, Art-as-art, Yeah!" large abstract drawing by David Smith

“Art-as-art, Art-as-art, Yeah!”
Pencil on Snowdon cartridge 59cm x 84cm

The title of this piece comes from Andrew Hamilton’s “For People Who Like Art” which I was listening to as I finished it off. The words of Hamilton’s piece are taken from Ad Reinhardt’s “25 Lines of Words on Art Statement” so my title is quoting a quote. I have been really caught by his music and I had already started work on an another piece (still in progress) inspired by though not trying to represent this composition, which I am calling “For Musicians Who Like Art”. Hamilton has a number of works titled, “For…” which echos some of the titles of another composer I admire, Morton Feldman. Notably, Feldman wrote “For Philip Guston” and “For Franz Kline” among other work about art or artists. So my title, “For Musicians Who Like Art”, is an echo of an echo. I will post more about this when i have finished it and have got some decent photographs. Andrew Hamilton kindly sent me the score of the piece and I am thinking about doing more work directly related to his music. (I also have it in mind to do some work responding to Meredith Monk’s work!)

If you want to hear my favourite recording of Hamilton’s “For People Who Like Art” by Crash Ensemble you can do so on SoundCloud

X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet

"X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet" abstract drawing by David Smith

“X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet “
Erased graphite, Magic Tape and stickers on Snowdon cartridge paper 59cm x 84cm

After a period when I could not work on large drawings because of a bad back, I am now back on form and have been working on a strand of the erasure work I began during my 50 Collages Before Christmas project.

Detail from "X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet" abstract drawing by David Smith

“X Marks The Spot Where We Buried The Hatchet” – detail
Erased graphite, Magic Tape and stickers on Snowdon cartridge paper 59cm x 84cm