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Gord Smith

Overview

Canada
1937

Click HERE for the July/August 2008 issue of MAG / Mass Art Guide which profiles Gord Smith as its cover image and lead editorial essay.

Gord Smith was born in Montreal on October 8, 1937. He studied Architecture and Engineering at Sir George Williams University, and went on to work with the architectural firm of Lawson Betts and Cash, in Montreal from 1956 to 1958. In 1967, he was elected to the Royal Canadian Academy of Arts (RCA). He was Assistant Professor in the Department of Visual Arts of the University of Victoria from 1972 to 1975, and again assumed a teaching role as Visiting Professor in the Department of Art and History, McMaster University, Hamilton, in 1993-94.

As the information under the various headings (see above) reveals, Smith is unquestionably one of the great sculptors of post-war Canada. From his first welded bronze work completed at age 21 for the Frazer-Hickson Library in Montreal, he had completed 37 commissions by the mid-1980s and seen his work acquired by major institutional and private collectors. He may be best known for the “Canada Screen” work commissioned by the Government of Canada for the Canadian Pavillion at Expo ’67; this Cor-Ten steel work measured 110 feet by 12 feet, and won him Second Prize for the entire Expo ’67 in the Monuments and Fountains category. But iconic works have graced the public spaces and collections of many major public institutions – such as the National Gallery of Canada, the Confederation Centre in Charlottetown, the Canadian Embassy in Germany (in the then-capitol Bonn), the Montreal Museum of Fine Art, the Musée d’Art Contemporain in Montreal, and Dalhousie Law School (as well as a number of other Canadian universities, including McGill, Concordia, Queen’s, Carlton, Victoria and Wilfred Laurier) – and several major corporate collections – such as Bell Canada, A.E, Lepage, and Weston’s. His work appears in many individual collections or estates, including those of Sir Henry Moore, Arthur Erickson, Joe Sealy, and Sylvester Stallone.

Smith has burst forth in recent years in a creative renewal that already sees him laying claim to a prominent place in the art-history annals of the present century and not only of the last. He is producing a body of incomparable work both in his traditional media – metals (bronze, welded steel) – and in a new medium of wooden dowels. His 38th commission has just been completed – “Spirit Wave” (16 feet x 6 feet, wood dowel) – and the commissioning party, Atria, has immediately commissioned another wooden-dowel piece for a second building. Alongside the creative intuitive skills of a great artist, Smith continually engages in a scientific exploration of the relationships between geometry, form, aesthetic harmony, and realms of the spirit. As just one example, in the past year, Smith has produced captivating works in both bronze and wood that are organized around a three-dimensional form that Smith has called the superall – a form that represents the merger of the sphere and the tetrahedron. It may well be that Smith will also be recognized by the narratives of the history of science for his articulation of this geometric space.

Click HERE for the July/August 2008 issue of MAG / Mass Art Guide which profiles Gord Smith as its cover image and lead editorial essay.