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Joan Smith

Joan Smith
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  • Biography
I have a long standing interest in the cross-overs between art, anthropology and science. I make paintings, prints, drawings and objects, choosing materials which fit conceptually with my research themes. By examining archives of objects, images and texts I aim to view the world through others’ perspectives, allowing me to embed historic references within a contemporary context. I am inspired by cross-disciplinary collaborations, particularly with experts in archaeology, anthropology and medicine; these connections allow me to step outside my own discipline to explore it from the outside.
My recent work includes ‘Traces’, a Europe-wide, Horizon 2020 funded project which brought together anthropologists, artists and museum professionals to explore contentious collections. Inspired by this work, I am currently working on ‘Skull Colour Chart’, an installation of over 1000 clay objects which aims to create a new, post-colonial narrative about the collection of skulls in the University of Edinburgh. In 2018-19 I worked with fellow artist, Susie Wilson, to develop an exhibition and artists’ book inspired by Surgeons’ Hall’s archive from the Scottish Women’s Hospitals in World War 1. I made oil paintings on copper, in response to the glass lantern photographic images of the nurses and camp hospitals in Serbia.
My work is held in public and private collections including: The Royal Scottish Academy; Heriot Watt University; Edinburgh College of Art
Glasgow Museums and Art Galleries; Edinburgh City Art Centre; Paintings in Hospitals (Scotland); Sakima Art Museum, Japan; Norsjo civic collection, Sweden
Then and Now VAS Centenary Exhibition 2024
SSA Annual exhibition Maclaurin Gallery, Ayr 2023
Scottish Landscape Awards exhibition of shortlisted artists City Art Centre Edinburgh 2023-24
Caledonian Club London SSA selected group exhibition 2023
Royal Scottish Academy Annual Exhibition 2023
Sea Amulets installation at Hidden Door Festival, The Complex, Edinburgh 2023
Borders Art Fair SSA selected group exhibition 2023
SSA 130 commissioned work ‘Fragments (Paolozzi)’ RSA Gallery, Edinburgh 2022-23
ANGUSalive Meffan Gallery, Forfar 2022-23
North Visual Arts Scotland at Inverness Creative Academy 2022
Sea Amulets installation Art Walk Porty Art in Shops 2022
Reverb at VAS 2022
Skull Colour Chart installation SSA 2021
Here and Now selected group exhibition Tatha Gallery, Newport, 2021
Contemporary Figure SSA online, 2021
Field Notes exhibition Surgeons Hall Museum, Edinburgh, 2018 –2019
TRACES collaborative EU research project 2016 – 2019.
Dead Images exhibition Edinburgh Art Festival 2018
The Bone Library, Summerhall, Edinburgh Science Festival, 2014
In a Jiffy group exhibition, Meffan Art Gallery, Forfar, 2014
Big Print Small Print group exhibition at the Eugeniusz Geppert Academy of Art and Design, Wroclaw 2012
Cast Contemporaries group exhibition at Edinburgh College of Art 2012
Smugglerius Unveiled exhibition at the Talbot Rice Gallery, Edinburgh December 2009 – March 2010
Prints Tokyo International Print Exhibition, Tokyo and Sakimi Art Museum, Okinawa, Japan 2007

Twenty-one works by Women 1992 Edinburgh Printmakers’ Workshop co-publication
The Sea, The Sea 1993 Edinburgh Printmakers’ Workshop co-publication
Drawing Comparisons ISBN: 0-9531180-0-2 1997/8
Cast Contemporaries 2012 ISBN 978-0-9565433-5-6
Field Notes 2018
Exposure: The ethics of making, sharing and displaying photographs of human remains J.Smith, L.Fibiger, T.Adler, J.Harries and A.Szöke 2017, Human Remains and Violence, vol. 4, no 1.
  • Joan Smith
  • Endangered
  • Mono Print
Red List
  • Joan Smith
  • Red List
  • Painting
An Act of God
  • Joan Smith
  • An Act of God
  • Painting
Hospital Ward 1
  • Joan Smith
  • Hospital Ward 1
  • Painting
  • Joan Smith
  • Archive
  • Drawing
  • Joan Smith
  • Lorica
  • Drawing
  • Joan Smith
  • Document
  • Screenprinting
  • Joan Smith
  • Walkers
  • Screenprinting