Through moving image, writing and drawing, Lynette Smith looks at how we find meaning in things.

In video installations characterised by subtle imagery and terse narratives, Smith has explored the shifting sands of our agency in worlds in which everything might be other than what it seems–wondering at the same time why we have an ethos of ‘seeming’ when it comes to images. As part of performative drawing, she has studied how little it takes to be an image and what it is like to be in one. In essays and other writings, she has laid out forms of the image, and knit visual and verbal modes tightly together into one surface. In all this work, she is looking at the conditions, or the circumstances, in which something is revealed to someone—how it becomes unhidden.

Deeply engaged with histories of visual art, writing, philosophy and science, her work compresses ideas and imagery into dense artefacts, characterised by formal intelligence, aesthetic rigour and a preference for the inexplicit. Smith is deeply interested in the ambivalence we have about the form of things: how we delight in it, but also despise it as mere surface.

Lynette Smith completed her Bachelor of Fine Arts at RMIT University in 1995 and went on to do postgraduate study in linguistics and philosophy at the University of Melbourne in the 2000s. In 2004-2005 she was on the board of West Space, an artist-run space in Melbourne. She lives and works in Melbourne.


Private collections in Australia, United States and Europe.

National Gallery of Victoria, Queensland State Library, RMIT University, State Library of Victoria, University of Melbourne, Santa Fe Art Institute.


National Assistance Program for the Arts, Sidney Myer Fund & The Myer Foundation, 2020

City of Melbourne development grant, 2020

Residency at Nida Art Colony (Vilnius Arts Academy) 2016 and 2018

Arts Victoria, Cultural Exchange 2012

Santa Fe Art Institute Residency 2012


An island, Lynette Smith, A+A Online

A small show of imperfect paintings, exhibition catalogue by Chris Bond

Ambiguity (a number of drawings), catalogue with texts by Tamsin Green and Lynette Smith


Transcenduojantis pieštukas, review by Agnė Narušytė

Extraterritorial landscaping, A+A Online, review by Paulius Andriuškevičius



Dark drawn, curated by Rasa Antanavičiūtė, Church of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Consolation, Vilnius


sand/fog, KINGS ARI, Melbourne

A bewilderment, Centre for Contemporary Photography, Melbourne

A small show of imperfect paintings, curated by Chris Bond, Trocadero, Melbourne

Ambiguity (a number of drawings), Bus Projects, Melbourne

Unhidden, group exhibition, Counihan Gallery, Melbourne


Field (wooden cypher), collaboration with Chris Bond, Blindside, Melbourne

Field (marginal light), collaboration with Chris Bond, West Space, Melbourne


Encounter, with Charles O’Loughlin at Sarah Scout Melbourne

Stutter (group), Platform, Melbourne

Black painting, with Martina Copley, Seventh, Melbourne


Why things are the way they are, Seventh, Melbourne


Un:sighted (group), 45 Downstairs, Melbourne

Accumulation (group), ParisCONCRET, Paris


Incomplete, Victoria Park Gallery, Melbourne

Contemporary art from the permanent collection, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne


Host, Seventh, Melbourne


The many, West Space, Melbourne

New acquisitions, National Gallery of Victoria

Seven, Counihan Gallery, Melbourne


Compendium (group), Platform, Melbourne

A natural kind, West Space, Melbourne

Blake Prize, Casula Powerhouse, Sydney


Pigeon, Mass, Melbourne

Fundere Sculpture Prize, Yarra Sculpture Gallery, Melbourne

John Leslie Art Prize – art and environment, Gippsland Art Gallery, Sale


Signalling, Mass, Melbourne

Space Traffic: symposium of international arts spaces, Parasite and the Hong Kong Visual Arts Centre