Nan Smith is a professor of art at the University of Florida, where she also makes sculpture. We profiled one of her pieces, Mercury (2014), in an earlier issue of CFile. We’d like to highlight an earlier work of Smith’s, Balance (2009). In Balance, you can see similar narrative structure to Smith’s later work as photographs on ceramic plates tell the story of a woman maintaining the momentum of the different roles she’s assumed over her life. This manic suspension is frozen in a moment, leaving us anticipating the inevitable (?) crash.
Above image: Nan Smith, Balance, 2009; glazed earthenware with china paint decals, wood and stainless steel; 79 x 96 x 96 inches
The artist states of the work:
“Recognizable still life elements; an alarm clock, wine glasses, a bucket of balls and tableware create the context for the porcelain figure, which in glost white seems frozen in the moment. The constancy of daily life is reflected by the plate stacks that surround her table. “Balance” presents the modern female as the quintessential juggler. In this installation a young woman juggles a world overloaded with constancy and tasks. The routine repeats itself; however, she must keep all aspects of her world in balance. The continuity is ongoing and she must keep up. The dysfunction is indicated through her truncated arms which make reference to fractured statuary. She is an expert multi-tasker. Her hands busily care for her home life including husband, child, and pet. She has a full life as wife, mother, and professional. Her multiple roles are reflected on the plates she juggles as her hands accomplish her goals expertly by keeping up the frantic momentum. The cycle is ongoing. No plates can fall. The poetic expectations of girlhood seem a distant past. The malt glass topples, as does her view of her own specialness.”
Any thoughts about this post? Share yours in the comment box below.