Artist StatementI began making art 20 years ago when my TV broke in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I wanted a creative outlet so I scavenged rusty metal from sun-baked arroyos and created my own unconventional style of mixed-media artwork. Everyday objects, and the vast amount of stuff we throw away, are infused with their own meanings that can be transformed with new associations. I find new lives for many found objects, including obsolete circuit boards, discarded cell phones, vintage toys, rusty tools, 19th-century tintype photos, and driftwood from the banks of the Potomac River. My work examines political and social themes, including our constant pursuit of progress at the expense of our past and our dehumanizing obsession with personal technology. Art is many things – visceral, emotional, poetic – but it isn’t rational or objective. Art is an unspoken bond between the artist and viewer in a silent conversation that speaks volumes. We just need to be quiet, put down our phones, and listen.
Brendan L. Smith has shown his unconventional mixed-media artwork in many gallery exhibitions and alternative venues in the D.C. area. His Ghosts in the Machine series was featured in a solo exhibition at the American Visionary Art Museum’s restaurant in Baltimore. He is a former member of the Sparkplug Collective and has won several grants from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities.
Brendan also is an award-winning arts writer for several publications, including Hyperallergic and the Washington Diplomat. At the Smithsonian American Art Museum, he leads interactive videoconferences on art subjects with schools and senior centers across the country. He previously lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where he showed his artwork in solo and group exhibitions across northern New Mexico. He also was a founding member of the Read Street Fine Art Gallery in downtown Santa Fe.