Through moving image, writing and drawing, Lynette Smith addresses what she sees as the fundamental question of 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. As part of performative drawing, she has studied how uncertainty shapes action. 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. Surfaces are all that we have, so her art deals with it, and the ambivalence.
In the past three years, Smith has presented her moving image works in Melbourne and Vilnius. This included a major work, A bewilderment, at the Centre of Contemporary Photography, and the presentation of Unhidden in a deconsecrated church in Vilnius, in parallel with the Baltic Triennial. Late 2018 saw her first essay on images published online by Art & Australia.
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.
AWARDS AND RESIDENCIES
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
REVIEW AND COMMENTARY
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