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Trained as a sculptor, Gary Haven Smith creates abstract sculptures and paintings that explore the boundaries between the enduring aspects of past cultures and the fast-paced, technologically driven nature of modern life. While his granite sculptures may retain some of their natural qualities in form and surface, by utilizing the subtractive process of carving, Smith imposes geometric shapes, hard angles, and pierced forms into the stone. He creates visual passageways that pull our attention through the age of the stone to our contemporary world on the other side. These industrial facets are interspersed with more human-like, almost playful marks—gentle spirals and wavy lines—and often the addition of color. He takes full advantage of the ways in which light can add both clarity and a sense of mystery to three-dimensional forms.


In the mid-1980s Smith began to make paintings, and in two dimensions, he explores some of the same issues and conflicts addressed in his sculpture. While using geometric forms or repeating organic patterns, his surfaces are rich and tactile. Given his interest in interpreting both the past and the present, it should be no surprise to note that Smith often utilizes digital media to develop the patterns and composition of his paintings. He uses substantial materials, both fluid and unforgiving: encaustic and slate, oil paint and lead. His paintings—even the smallest ones—can be monumental, carrying a visual weight equal to that of his granite sculptures.




Studio 3 web

Artist’s Statement

“My interest lies in an engagement with art that connects ancient natural materials with our present day technological lives. My early carving was done using only hand tools and this process has evolved to using diamond technology, computer imagery and elaborate mechanically driven systems designed to help cut the stone in elaborate ways. Lately, I have been become enthralled with working with glacial boulders that I find in gravel pits. These boulders that have been rolled and tumbled by the glaciers and then buried have their own wonderful legacy. I help continue their journey by interacting with them by cutting and carving them.

I try to create a balance between “what is and what is not. The materials I choose and the designs created are reflections on past cultures that continue to live for me.”