Tuesday, December 12, 2022

by Gloria Tanchelev

Dean Smith is presenting small works on paper at Gallery Paule Anglim, San Francisco through December 21. Made of either fluorescent ink or graphite on paper, each of the drawings deploys tiny, repetitive marks to produce either a complex field or a simple shape in a color field.

Remarkably, the graphite marks in "intooutof #3" and "focusing #2, 2006" turn from dark grey to silver depending on the viewer's distance from the wall. Combined with the complexity of the small marks' configuration, and the relationship Smith creates between center and corners, the shifting grey to silver light produces a dynamic fluctuating field. The most intriguing work is therefore titled "intooutof #3, 2006"; it bends space.

"Spot #5, 2006" is a shape composed of concentric circles of tiny fluorescent green marks in a pink field. If Smith's graphite marks are made by his keeping his pencil sharp, so these ink markings are made by the point of a very fine pen. Small repeated marks, fluorescent ink and complementary colors produce a volume of intense light.

These are labor intensive centering devices referring in a general way to botanical processes of crystallization and growth.

Art marked by holes, yet pregnant with meaning

San Francisco Chronicle

Saturday, December 16, 2022

by Kenneth Baker

Dazzlingly dense graphite on paper pieces such as "Focusing #2" (2006) suggest some meticulously rendered natural phenomenon -- a growth of ice crystals or a welter of iron filings called to order by an echelon of hidden magnets. But the real phenomenon here is Smith's unwavering commitment to an incredibly elaborate graphic scheme. The graphite pieces have the drawback of making it look as if Smith has let himself off easy in recent, far less labor-intensive pieces done in fluorescent ink.

Setting such a high standard of finish, detail and graphic energy in works such as "Focusing #2" and "Intooutof #3" (2006) has condemned him to continue working to it.

Dean Smith produces drawings that are abstract, yet make reference to organic growth and the representation of 3-dimensional space. Delicate compositions made up of tiny lines, so fine and regimented in their perfect repetition, it seems impossible that they might be produced, tiny mark after tiny mark, by hand. Whether made from pencil strokes or fine touches of a fluorescent pen, Dean Smith’s drawings breathe their own life, living somewhere between geometry and botany.

Biography - Images - Artist’s Website

Dean Smith