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Shawn Smith - "Re-Things"
at Craighead Green Gallery through December 19
by Todd Camplin

Craighead Green Gallery is showing Shawn Smith’s series titled “Re-things,” which is a collection
of digital animals or fire images made into real sculptures.  Smith is from Dallas and lives in Austin,
and exhibits nationally.  He has been showing with Craighead Green Gallery for over 10 years.
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Shawn Smith has recently received a tremendous amount of press from magazines like Wired
and Juxtapose to name a few. So Smith’s work has had a broad appeal. He along with the
writers that write about his works have had a lot to say about the pixel quality these works
seem to possess, and I agree. The digital quality of the work is undeniable, but when I look
at Smith’s sculptures, they feel extremely out of their environment. Taking a flat 2D image and
moving the image into the 3D world must have taken a huge leap of creative energy, but
when you see the work, you think, ‘of course someone would do that.’
previous articles
by
Todd Camplin
Shawn Smith -  "Puff 2011"
30" x 24"x 13"
balsa wood, bass wood, ink, acrylic  
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Shawn Smith
"Disintegrating Eagle"
31" x 71"x 12"
balsa wood, bass wood, ink, acrylic
Shawn Smith - "White Noise"
50" x 15"x 18"
plywood, ink, acrylic
I think the wave of the future of art should be in the same direction as Smith is working. Information
age inspired, extremely planned out concept drawings, hand crafted and assembled work by the
artist or with just a little assistance, and I think art should leave you to question, “how did they do
that?” I think art is moving towards more complexity. To a more complex story and a more complex
process, good artists seem to have more to add to their work than stripping away in a purely
minimalist fashion. We are past the Shock of the New and I hope we are entering an age of
the Shock of the More Complex. Shawn Smith will be exhibiting his work at Craighead Green
Gallery until December 19th.
Smith’s sculpture, “Disintegrating Eagle," is made of balsa wood, bass wood and then
he uses ink and acrylic to get the needed colors to create the pixel effect. This particular
piece stood out, because Smith is starting to play further with digital degradation. Inspired
by video games of the 1980’s, Smith drops the direct reference from something like ‘Pitfall’
for a more subtle approach. He chooses to represent taxidermied animals and sometime
fire. So now the ‘game’ is the animal, displayed in the fashion of a trophy. Smith is
displaying his wins or his high score in the same way a hunter might display her or his kill.