Brief Description of Current Work
I am a full time artist, making ceramic figurative sculptures in my studio on the edge of the Peak District National Park. The images I make are dream-like and contemplative, designed to create a feeling of another reality where peaceful co-existence is possible between us and nature. The style is bold and semi-abstract with graceful sweeping curves and simplified details.
In my work I play with the conventions of fairytales and fables, often turning the stories on their heads and twisting them. Goldilocks has made peace with the bears and Red Riding Hood has grown up to be a confident 'femme fatale' who entrances the Wolf. There are many 'first-nation' stories of a time when beasts could talk and the world was one, not divided into the human/animal worlds.
I am interested in our perception of the animal kingdom, told through fairytale and fable, art, books and film, rather than realistic depiction. A big influence on my work has been Angela Carter who wrote several short stories and novels on the theme of fairytales, “The Company of Wolves” and “The Bloody Chamber” being among the most famous. She tells tales of transformation, wonder and strangeness but, however dark the stories are, there is, more often than not, a redemptive ending.
My work is solidly rooted in the figurative tradition. Of all the artists of the past I particularly admire the work of Elie Nadelman. A Polish-born sculptor working in the earlier part of the last century, he was innovative in his wonderful sense of fluid line and form, influenced by American folk art.
Paul Smith, January 2013
Most of my figurative ceramic sculptures are hand-built one-offs, using a system of rods like an external and internal scaffold. I freely build the figures, removing the supports once the clay can withstand its own weight.
This working method allows me to be free and spontaneous with the forms of the sculpture. I sponge-decorate my work with oxides, stains and glazes.
Some of my other ceramic sculptures are press-moulded limited editions.
I also make large Polychrome (coloured mixed media) sculptures for outdoor settings in editions of 9 or 12, and smaller bronze resin sculptures for indoors.
1961 - Born, Northampton, England
1983 - Leicester Polytechnic: 2:1 BA Hons Fine Art Sculpture
1985 - Hertfordshire College of Art and Design: Postgraduate Diploma in Art Therapy
(I have worked full-time from my own sculpture studio since 1998)
2013 Oct Cambridge Contemporary Art
2011 Oct Singing Soul Gallery – Cranbrook, Kent
2010 September, Cambridge Contemporary Art – “Supernature”
2004 June, Cambridge Contemporary Art - "If you go down to the woods today..."
2001 July, Buxton Museum & Art Gallery, Derbyshire - "ANIMALISM"
Small Group Exhibitions
2007 June, Cambridge Contemporary Art – 2 person show with painter Nicola Slattery
1999 May, Ashbourne Gallery, Derbyshire - 2 Man Show with painter Angelo Murphy
1999 - 2008 Glasgow Art Fair - with the Lost Gallery (April)
2000 - 2013 Affordable Art Fair, Battersea Park, London (except 2004) - with the Lost Gallery and then the Hayloft Gallery
2008 - 2013 Affordable Art Fair, Bristol (with the Hayloft Gallery)