Professor Nan Smith has recently been featured in three prominent arts publications, highlighting the sculpture she has been creating that expresses the need for environmental conservation. Smith’s massive installations are social narratives that all come from inside her head and her heart. With a great amount of work and a huge investment, she sets out to construct work in an effort to bring about social awareness and social justice for the greater good. To begin, she envisions the sense of space, develops her own symbolism and follows the thread of research to build each component of these incredibly detailed works. Each piece is truly her creation and the results are as informative as they are impressive.
Though Smith creates these works on her own, she uses research resources and UF students who provide help throughout the process. From expert fish pathologists providing scientific information to graduate and undergraduate students helping pack and install work, she ensures that all involved have the opportunity to remain invested in the process. She gives everyone who is a part of the project a piece of artwork and maintains relationships to keep them informed of the project as it progresses. Smith’s work impresses upon many people who take part in the research and development as well as those visiting the completed works in exhibition. Through these publications, her narratives can now be relayed to an international audience.
The article Nan Smith Mercury: Art and Science in Ceramics: Art and Perception, the top international journal featuring contemporary ceramic art, discusses the sophisticated art and science research involved in Smith’s work. Art/Nan Smith: Mercury featured in Cfile Weekly, a new online journal founded by prominent ceramics advocate and critic Garth Clark, displays beautiful photographs and an informative video of the massive installation piece Mercury. Finally, the article Symbols of Devastation in the top journal on contemporary sculpture, Sculpture magazine, published by the International Sculpture Center, features Smith’s work from 2010 to 2015. Mercury and her installation entitled Garden, and sculptures Summers Over, and Spill are discussed in this article. As a magazine focused primarily on sculpture and rarely featuring ceramic sculpture, this helped put her work into a broader context in terms of readership, and having her work in each of these wide-reaching publications was an important recognition.
“My hope is to do as much outreach as possible because my work is focused on environmental conservation which is an international issue that affects everyone,” says Smith. “I can share these works through exhibitions, which is localized to a venue, but I can reach a broader audience through these journals.”