Nan Smith is a Professor Emeritus of Ceramic Art at the University of Florida, where she developed the nationally ranked Ceramics Program and taught graduate and undergraduate courses from 1979-2019. In January 2019, after 40 years of teaching for the School of Art and Art History, Smith retired to pursue "Chapter 2" of her career as a full-time studio artist. Nan Smith lives in Gainesville, Florida where she maintains her private studio. She continues to offer workshops and to lecture nationally and internationally. Smith teaches her specialized studio techniques for life modelling, life casting, and mold-making. In 2020 she is scheduled to offer workshop sessions at the Anderson Ranch, the Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and at the Archie Bray Foundation. She will also hold an invited art residency for a month at the Archie Bray Foundation in April 2020. For more information on Nan Smith's upcoming activities and exhibitions feel free to explore her website at - http://www.nansmith.com .
“Nan Smith’s figure sculptures and installations symbolize the degree to which the human being is a harmony of energy and matter”. Glen R. Brown, PhD.
Nan Smith is known for her contemplative installations and figure sculptures, which synthesize sculpture -often life-size figures--with digital photomontages. Over the years she has explored social narratives that reflect her interest in spirituality, nostalgia, and most recently, environmental issues. She is currently completing a new body of work including an installation, tile murals, and still lives based on research she has conducted on global water issues.
Raised in Philadelphia’s rich visual and cultural environment, Nan’s interest in universal connections, sculpture and painting began early. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Tyler School of Art and a Master of Fine Arts from The Ohio State University. She holds degrees in Ikebana and Japanese Tea Ceremony from the Japan House at the University of Illinois. She taught Ceramics as a Visiting Instructor at the University of Illinois' Department of Art and Design before being hired by the University of Florida's School of Art and Art History.
Nan Smith’s installations and sculpture have been exhibited at SOFA Chicago, The American Museum of Ceramic Art in California, The Kentucky Museum of Arts and Crafts, The Appleton Museum of Art and in invitational exhibitions throughout the United States. Nan’s work is also part of many institutional collections, including The American Express Corporation; The Lamar Dodd Art Center; The Bezalel Academy of Art and Design's Ceramics and Glass Resident Artists' Collection, Jerusalem, Israel; The Givat Haviva Institute’s Art Center in Israel; and the World Ceramics Exposition Korea International Collection in Ichon, Korea. She has been the recipient of four State of Florida Individual Artist Fellowship Grants, an NEA-funded Southern Arts Federation Fellowship in Sculpture, and a University of Florida Research Foundation Professorship. In 2017 Nan Smith was awarded a prestigious UF Provost's Research Professorship recognizing the significance and ongoing research of her studio art. Nan Smith was one of six faculty members campus-wide to receive the University of Florida Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award for 2016-2017. Nominated by her graduate students she was the College of the Arts awardee as well for 2016-2017. Nan has been awarded funded residencies by the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, the Watershed Center for Ceramic Arts, and The Association of Israel’s Decorative Arts. Her sculpture has been presented in book chapters in: “The Figure in Clay” (Lark, 2005) and “World Famous Ceramic Artists Studios” (Hebei Fine Ats Publishing House, China, 2004); plus in feature articles in Sculpture magazine, Ceramics Monthly, Ceramics: Art and Perception, World Sculpture News, China Ceramic Artist magazines. In 2018 she was invited to present her work through demonstration, lecture, and exhibition at the Ceramics Ireland International Festival, Kilkenny, Ireland.
Selected recent exhibitions include: "The International Ceramics Invitational", The Armory Art Center, "Florida Fire", The Florida Craftsmen Gallery, "Extraordinary Characters", The Strecker-Nelson Gallery, "Body Perspectives", Tom Funke Gallery - 2009, "Full and Spare; Ceramics in the 21st Century", The Florida State Musuem of Art - 2008, "NCECA Clay National Biennial", Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, "The Narrative Figure", The Ellipse Art Center Gallery, "Form and Imagination: Women Ceramic Sculptors", The American Museum of Ceramic Art - 2007, "Pygmalion\'s Gaze ReImagined; The Figure in Contemporary Ceramics", Creative Alliance Gallery - 2006, Sofa Chicago; RawSpace, Watershed Inivitaitonal, Thomas R. Riley Galleries in 2005, 2004, "21st Century Ceramics in United States and Canada", Cazani Center Gallery, "Taking Measure: American Ceramic Art at the New Millenium", World Cermaic Exposition, Yeoju, Korea, "Beyond the Physical: Substance, Space and Light", The Storr\'s Gallery - 2001, "A Glimpse of the Invisible; NCECA Invitational", Arvada Art Center Gallery - 2000.
Nan Smith served as the co-juror for the 2006 NCECA Regional Student Juried Exhibition in Portland, Oregon, and for Alchemy: from Dust to Form, The Ceramics National presented by the Samuel P. Harn Museum of Art in 2011. She has curated three CIE exhibitions for the National Council for Education in Ceramics Conferences. Smith was honored by the National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts, NCECA as an Emerging Talent, in 1986.