David Scott Smith Ceramics
Artist Statement

My work relies heavily on objects and textures that inspire my fascinations, and these are usually found in nature or combined with natural elements. I explore ideas of excess and consumption, but also beauty, which I believe can be found in abundance, even in the tragedy of our global predicament. I am primarily a sculptor and a mold-maker, and I am currently exploring how translucent porcelain and light depict form and surface, and re-contextualize familiar objects. Snake skin, tree bark, lace, crab claw, tin foil, chicken skin--all textures and surfaces are transformed through illumination, and transcend their original context.
I enjoy employing humor in my work, playing with contradictions and absurdity. When I was young and worked for my father in our family taxidermy shop, it was very common for us to position an animal on a lovely piece of driftwood. Quail, turkeys, bobcat, rattlesnakes--even though you don't usually see these animals on an ocean beach, for some reason it's very acceptable to perch them on driftwood. The overall effect can be very humorous, and also beautiful. In many ways I'm still fastening death to driftwood.
My work is influenced by Surrealism and the study of Psychology, contemporary and historical. On a basic level my work is analogous to the introduction of a low-brow joke: A priest, a dancing bear, and a gorgeous woman all walk into a bar……
What happens? What will happen next?
Like a scientist observing through a microscope, I often don't have a clue.
But my work is intended to be an ensemble tableau of dramatic possibility. I place the characters on a stage, and the relationships they establish will hopefully unfold.

When I was an undergraduate student I took several psychology classes. In one study I recall reading, two groups of people were each locked in a room: one group had a gun placed in the center of the table, the other group was told there was a gun in the room. Both groups registered the same high levels of anxiety, even though only one group could actually see a gun.
I am lamenting a loss of culture (real or imagined), with the objects and environments I invent. I am exploring a definition of how we display, how we order our systems of meaning, construct value systems, and explore our sense of personal individuality. I am playing with dolls--a dancing bear, a priest, the symbol of an ideal…….

With any luck, I can put a gun in the room.