Ian Smith
1950 –
Lives QLD
Islands that lie near Stradbroke    2010
Oil and synthetic polymer paint on canvas

Redland Art Gallery Collection. Donated through the Australian Government ‘s Cultural Gifts Program by Ian Smith, 2014

Ian Smith was born in Cairns, Queensland in 1950 and studied architecture at the University of Queensland before completing a Diploma in Art and Design at Prahran College of Technology, Melbourne. An artist and former visual arts lecturer, he has exhibited widely, nationally and internationally and won numerous awards. His work is represented in the National Gallery of Australia, State, regional and private collections.

As a longtime resident of Lamb Island, Ian Smith would regularly commute between his Brisbane studio on the mainland and the Island. This became a key subject matter for his work and is reflected in the painting Islands that lie near Stradbroke.  For Smith:

“Once a week, not necessarily on the weekend, I walk through the theatrette-like interior of the water bus and take a seat on the small back deck [unless the weather is terrible] with other outdoor-preferring island people and visitors whose hair and caps are tussled by the wind against a vivid backdrop of sparkling, spraying boat wake and glary, yet cool, sea and island scape. In this cinematic setting under the infinite atrium of high sky, the boat’s deck becomes a contained tableau in which the island travellers arrange themselves and greet each other, even if cursorily. Then, as in any communal situation, strangers shrink away from each other – psychologically, if not physically – into individual isolation, while related couples and parties huddle together. The effect is of scattered islands in a confined space – a human archipelago, bobbing in the sea of existence. My artistic scatter of human pieces is disciplined by the laughably inarticulate sign of caution on my ferry’s back deck: DANGER: PLEASE KEEP ALL BODY PARTS INSIDE THE VESSEL[1]

[1] Ian Smith, Bay Pastels – City Paintings, Redland Art Gallery, 2014.