brad Ford smith: outside inside
May 6 - June 10, 2023
Ro2 Art is thrilled to present Outside Inside, an exhibition of two bodies of work by Brad Ford Smith. The exhibition will open May 6 and remain on view through June 10, 2023, at Ro2 Art located at 2606 Bataan St., Dallas, TX.
Brad Ford Smith explores drawing and sculpture in two distinct, but complementary bodies of work in his exhibit Outside Inside. In one series, Smith works from life, depicting incredible, but often unacknowledged public sculptures around Dallas, TX. The act of drawing becomes a way of re-experiencing spaces and scenes which had become mundane and familiar to the artist over time, and utilizes neutral tones to focus on the sculptures’ forms. Alternatively, his mindscape series are products of his automatic drawing practice, which emphasize color as equally as forms, and drawing inspiration from music and audiobooks. Together, the two elements of Outside Inside work to capture both the private and public spheres in which sculpture exists.
Exploring public sculpture in the landscape and private sculpture in the mindscape.
For this show I’ve juxtaposed 40 small plein air drawings of public sculptures around Dallas with 40 mindscape drawings of imagined sculptures.
Drawing sculpture in plein air gives me the excuse to spend time with works that I often overlook because they’ve grown familiar to me… like their mere endurance has generated a cloak of invisibility. So, I give myself permission to stop and draw these sculptures as a way to re-connect with them on a personal level. I prefer rendering them in neutral tones of black and amber because I want to examine the shapes and forms more graphically.
The mindscape drawings have grown out of my decades long practice of automatic drawing. While listening to music or an audio book, I like to draw with pencil or pen on paper. The colorful sculptural forms emerge naturally, free flowing from my head. I manipulate them with color and contrast to exaggerate the intriguing three dimensional shapes.
As a bonus, I’ve included Nine Days with LiHua, a series of interior drawings I did last year in Brooklyn while cat-sitting for a good friend. These drawings are a detailed study of what might be considered small space living.
About the Artist
BRAD FORD SMITH is a visual artist and art conservator living in Dallas, Texas. Brad’s parents were accomplished freelance artists who in the late 50’s created an art studio in their home. Fueled by a seemingly endless supply of scrap paper, pencils, paint, X-Acto knives and Elmer’s glue Brad discovered an early love for experimentation. After earning his degree from The Kansas City Art Institute in painting and printmaking, Brad eventually found himself back in Dallas at his childhood home experimenting with drawing, painting, printmaking, and sculpture while also earning a living as a professional art conservator of historic objects.
As an artist, Brad has explored a variety of topics, from the influence of dyslexia on sight perception, to tongue and cheek pseudo-science exhibitions under the guise of the Nomadic Fungi Institute. His current focus is on drawing local spots of historic and cultural significance which have often morphed into urban detritus, such as parking lots or highway underpasses. These representational pen and ink en plein air drawings include the embedded stories and are executed in Brad’s singular and witty style.
Coinciding with all his creative endeavors is Brad’s long standing practice of automatic drawing. Rendered in ink and colored pencils these painterly drawings are a diary of sorts reflecting his state of mind and obsessions. These small works are free flowing and abstract. While they don’t begin with any particular focus, by the end they have happily morphed into oddly exquisite forms that embody otherworldly structures.