Serena Smith is based in Leicester. She works as artist, tutor and collaborator in a range of settings. From 30 years practice within the field of fine art printmaking she has a wide range of experience as project manager, studio printer and technician. Her work in education includes professional development for artists, technical consultancy, and recreational learning for schools and community groups. Alongside her work with other artists, she is actively engaged in her own research and practice.
Describe your practice for us:
I work as technician, collaborator, educator and printmaker, supporting the work of other artists of all ages and levels of experience, alongside my own studio activities. The practice can best be described as a process of creative partnership with people, environments, materials and technology. Current work in progress includes an ongoing exploration of the ‘Hodegetria’ icon, .
How long have you been practising?
After leaving college in 1983 I spent 12 years as technician, artist-lithographer and print editioner for a fine art lithography studio. Since 1997 I have combined motherhood and family life with collaborative projects, teaching and my own research and practice. I have been fortunate to have had over thirty years so far, working as artist and art worker in the visual arts, alongside many inspiring and creative people.
What is the most interesting/inspiring thing you have seen/been to over the last month, and why?
This was a summer of visiting art for me and I saw and experienced many things. The work that had the most immediate sensory impact, and has made the most lasting impression was the A Weiwei installation at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. The works are both intensely beautiful and historically complex – bringing together his family history in communist China, with the site of the chapel at YSP, and the experience of the artist and individual in society. I particularly appreciate the power given to the aesthetics of this work, to convey not only a deeply personal narrative, but a strong political and humanitarian voice.
Which other artists’ work do you admire, and why?
There are so many artists’ whose work I respond to it is hard to name a few, the list is always evolving. Here are some: Mary Martin, Eve Hesse, Lucie Rie, Richard Tuttle, Martin Creed, Ian Kaier. The list may appear disparate, but in each of these artists work I can identify with elements of economy, rigour, improvisation, submission to process, poetic ambiguity, play, and an intuitive hand that allows the internal logic of each work, to speak for itself.
Where can people see your work?
Work on paper is regularly shown in regional and national exhibitions. Locally my work can be seen at Tarpey Gallery, Castle Donington. In London I am represented by Eagle Gallery. My work can also be viewed on my website. My work will be included in Leicester Print Workshop’s international exhibition of contemporary fine art mini prints, which tours to venues in England between May 2016 and July 2017 and is on display in Linear Expression at Gallery 57 in Arundel, West Sussex. I am also involved in the Reside Residency – an online space for reflection – which has prompted me to re-visit an earlier piece of work ‘Home’, a collection of writings and images produced 12 years ago when my two sons were quite young. The residency has prompted me to reflect again on this living, thinking and working space of an artist, and mother.
Serena was first interviewed in October 2014.
Contact us if you would like to take part in Meet the Artist.