1. Crystal Nights, 2018, Hand built stoneware, porcelain, feldspathic glaze, glass pigment enamel, 74 x 50 x 27 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
2. Sea Mountain, 2018, Hand built stoneware, porcelain, feldspathic glaze, glass pigment enamel, 41 x 46 x 9 cm, Courtesy of the artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne.
Dean Smith is an artist specialising in the field of ceramics. He was born in Brisbane, Queensland, but grew up in New Zealand, connecting to his Māori ancestry through his father. Smith is now based in Morwell, where he lives and works. Smith’s work links ideas of the natural and industrial world, and the Latrobe Valley landscape provides elements of inspiration from both these worlds. This place offers a foundation for further exploration into the environment.
In 2018 Smith undertook a residency in Denmark, creating a body of work that continued his themes, including fragility and impermanent environments. He was drawn to the chalky white cliffs of Møns Klint and the fragility of the environment, subject to erosion by wind and sea. Much of Denmark is a vulnerable lowland, and these cliffs are among the highest points in Denmark, reaching heights of 143 metres. Further, through some strange physics involving the gravitational fields of ice sheets, Scandinavian countries are more affected by Antarctic ice loss than is Australia.
Smith’s research and time spent in this environment underpin the visual and conceptual elements of his works Crystal Nights and Sea Mountain. These ceramic forms connect fragile sites at opposite ends of the Earth and speak to the tenuous existence of nature as we know it. Smith conveys the delicate and intangible aspects of these landscapes and their silent conversations using iridescent pigments on the surface.
Dean Smith has exhibited in many significant exhibitions both nationally and internationally.