Juror of Selection: Brenda Gael Smith
"Integrifolia #3," Brenda Gael Smith, Copacabana, Australia, 109x114cm, $1,750, QU-74
Artist Statement for Integrifolia #3: As the woody, cone-like fruit of the coastal banksia mature, the follicles open up to reveal irregular elliptical chambers. Seeds are released to start the cycle of regeneration anew. Nature is replete with such stops and starts. This is reflected in the complementary palette of red and green and the lines of stitching echoing out into the universe.
Profile Bio: www.brendagaelsmith.com
Brenda Gael Smith grew up in Aotearoa (New Zealand) and lives and creates at the “other” Copacabana on the Central Coast of New South Wales in Australia. In another life, Brenda was a corporate and regulatory lawyer and she brings these skills to her creative practice of art-making, exhibition administration, curating, judging, mentoring and teaching: synthesising complex information, problem-solving and presenting elegant solutions. Drawing upon 15+ years of exhibition administration, and 5+ years as convenor of the QuiltNSW Judging Education Program, she has studied thousands of quilts and brings deep experience to judging and jurying assignments. She has also independently curated several popular touring exhibitions. Her own artwork is exhibited widely internationally. During the pandemic, Brenda’s studio has morphed into a virtual classroom as she works with students from all around the world. Her teaching focus is on freeform piecing, effective design, and the use of colour so as to promote fun and encourage creative momentum.
General Artist Statement
Brenda Gael Smith’s resonant textile works impart a sense of wonder of the natural world and her deep affinity to place. Abstraction is a persistent and insistent force in her creative practice. Inspired by patterns in nature, she distils lines and shapes to capture the essence of her subjects. She constantly tests how far she can pare back her designs and yet retain a connection with their inspiration source. Her favourite design principle is “economy” where every element counts and nothing is extraneous. Daily walks are a creative habit integral to Brenda’s wellbeing. By closely observing her surroundings and taking hundreds of photos, she has a bountiful inspiration bank that informs her work. Brenda’s textile sketches and paintings are created in hand-dyed fabrics complemented by intensive stitching demonstrating the transformative power of stitch.