STEEL: art design architecture




Born Sydney 1974

Lives Canberra, ACT

Oliver Smith has a long and storied history with steel, completing his Bachelors at the Sydney College of the Arts (SCA) Jewellery & Object Studio in 1995 before embarking on an extended tour of New Zealand, Mexico, Germany and England, where he worked with silversmiths and metalworkers in an ongoing period of apprenticeship.

He returned to study at the School of Art, Australian National University, obtaining a Masters of Philosophy in 2003 and since then has combined practice and theory, assembling a long list of honours while acting as the Head of Contemporary Art at the SCA’s Jewellery & Object Studio.

Razorback, employs porcine symbolism. From pig iron to the legend of the Calydonian Boar, the wild pig embodies raw, terranean power. The vanquished pig is a brutal representation of our mastery over the natural environment. Field of Wings, has an equine theme. This references the iron horse, horsepower, the internal combustion engine, the mythology of movement and mobility and the ubiquity of petroleum as a fuel. Divine Ratio, harnesses a machine aesthetic and is a sculptural expression of my metallic understanding of the ratio of carbon and iron that makes steel. In combination the three works are an investigation into totemic animal symbolism and the role of material agency and technology in cultural history.