new beings alive in the world


The Personages are, I think, the highpoint of Smith’s art and a series that could have gone on for as long as there was metal to be had. They are the very essence of creativity. Smith coined the term carefully: something between persona and assemblage, they are collaged characters, vivid figures that have force of personality without ever quite devolving into people.

A vertical crowned with a bowl that contains light but reflects it back becomes the embodiment of a smile. Another, dividing like tweezers, has the hint of a sashay. The tips of two arabesques meet like fingers, or lips if viewed from another angle. Rectangles or discs on rods seem caught in headstrong propulsion, while more fragile constructions hover like dragonflies. There is a photograph of Smith between two entirely abstract figures, neither man nor beast, and they appear to be standing shoulder to shoulder in the hills – a trio of equal friends.

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