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Serena Smith~ United Kingdom

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Artist Statement: “Serena Smith is an English artist based in Leicestershire. Working primarily with printmaking, the images she creates often develop through her skilled use of lithography – a print medium she learnt in her training at the Curwen Studio. In ongoing projects she pursues this interest; her work with digital photography and hand drawn stone lithography explores the visual syntax that evolves through the combined use of these technologies.”"


By Serena Smith
[Leicestershire, England]: Serena Smith, 2020. Edition of 5.

70 x 46 x 2 cms; 10 images and 10 text pages. Printed from stone. Hand coloured images printed on to 225gsm Simili Japon. Bronzed text printed onto translucent paper. Case bound with letterpress printed cloth cover. Signed and numbered by the artist. Laid in protective paper wrapper.

Serena Smith: "Through the narrative threads of language, ‘Ekphrasis’ considers an intimate relationship between site and practice. Navigating both the tracks and pathways of local parkland, and the contours of lines drawn on stone, the text dwells on the analogous acts of inscription in which these worlds converge. Moving between the woodland environment and the lithography studio these territories offer sites of speculation in which the transcriptions of language are born. Glimpsed in this process is an interplay between systems and substrates that simultaneously progress these unfolding lines, whilst resisting and constraining the routes they take. Spilling out from the overflow of these events is the excess of ornament. Embedded in the work is the woodland adjacent to my home and depicted in the images is aging bark gathered from felled and rotting trees. Also visually hinted at are nineteenth century atlases and anatomical illustrations. The work more specifically references Ogham - a Celtic alphabet named after trees."

Text excerpt: “Part arboretum and part community orchard, when we arrived a multitude of young trees tethered to supports mapped out the planting scheme of rows, grids and clusters. Twelve years later colonies of quickly growing ash and beech reach out to form canopies and young slender poles once indistinguishable from one another are now each encrusted with a rich patina of moss and lichen. Dense thicket that obscured the view has been thinned to reveal sightlines across the forest floor. …”

Ekphrasis book
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By Serena Smith
[Leicestershire, England]: Serena Smith, 2017. Edition of 3 + Exhibition copy.

33 x 135 x 15 cm extended; 16 panels. Leporello construction. Printed from six stones, watercolour, letterpress. Hand-stained cloth covered boards with matching case. Letterpress title. Clamshell case dimensions: 36 x 15 x 14cms. Signed and numbered by the artist.

Serena Smith: "’Iconostasis’ is from a series of work that brings together aspects of my immediate woodland environment with forms used within religious art and poetry. The polyptych form, seen in the structure and use of multiple stones, echoes iconographic artefacts and illuminated manuscripts. Depicted are several interpretations of an offcut left by tree felling; the book production similarly made use of 'offcut waste', having been printed from the misshapen fragments of broken lithography stones - the profiles of which can be seen in the work. Made from hand-stained cotton bedsheets from my childhood, the book cloth resonates with the work's oblique and metaphorical references to mortality and the passing of time. "

Iconostasis book
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Poems by Linsey Shaw-Miller
Images by Serena Smith
[Leicestershire, England]: Serena Smith, 2015. Edition of 35.

28 x 22 cm; 10 pages. Single section hand-stitched bookwork. Hand-coloured stone lithographs by Serena Smith. Poems by Lindsey Shaw-Miller printed by offset lithography. Text pages printed on Fabriano 5 210gsm. Lithographs printed on Fabriano 5 300gsm. Blind emboss “Serena Smith signature on front free end page. Bound in tan stiff paper cover with title printed on front cover. Numbered on colophon. Signed by artist and poet. Laid in folded paper pamphlet with notes on “Dendokron”. Laid in folded “Dendokron” print, signed and numbered by the artist.

Serena Smith: "’Dendokron’ is a collaboration between artist Serena Smith and writer Lindsey Shaw-Miller. Far from one being illustrative of the other, the poems and images were generated by a series of brief encounters. Serena Smith's series' of work on the themes of Labyrinth, Hodegetria and Psalter inspired the ideas for the poems, and the images in ‘Dendokron’ are a further development in kind. What might be held in common is an interest in the encroachment of abstraction into reality; the coexistence of obscurity and clarity in reaching for a direction; and the presence of myth and belief in the layers of our lives.”

Notes: “All of these poems, with their references to specific, narrated mythologies or liturgies, have undercurrents that interrogate the limits of religious and mythological belief. Sight, direction and self-ownership are common themes, if at times encrypted in the verse. Greek words have sometimes been manipulated to be more inclusive or more primitive, as in the title of the book, ‘Dendokron’, or by using a plural rather than a singular.

“.. the poems are also a homage to Greece, the source of so many wild, inspiring and brutal ideas that have captured the imagination, even the soul, over centuries; and a place with the most understated, mystical capacity to heal the damage that some of those ideas have wrought.”

Dendokron book
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Page last update: 02.03.2022


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