Yasmin Smith (b. 1984, Sydney) has an archeological approach to ceramics, producing site-specific, research-based projects that often result in an installation of cast ceramic objects glazed with remnants of the original object or other locally-sourced materials. She also produces monumentally-scaled, figurative sculpture and installations in ceramics, reproducing industrial, often degraded objects in fired terracotta and other earthenware using glazes and patinas as a representational palette. For Smith, the investigation of glazes and how they relate to the larger world is an end in itself that incorporates social histories, geography, ecology and geology.
In 2016, Smith was invited to develop a project for the inaugural, outdoor Sculpture at Barangaroo, Sydney. The outcome was Contours of our heart, in which Sydney Sandstone dust was sourced from massive on site landscaping excavations to make clay and glazes for a two-week outdoor public engagement project. Smith built a kiln outdoors as part of this process-based work.
In 2014, Smith spent a month at Hermannsburg in Central Australia assisting the local community of potters on the Old Church Project. The project's aim was to create a ceramic replica of the old Lutheran mission church, an installation with soundscape, exploring the material culture of the mission period.
As a result of her time at Hermannsburg, Smith developed Ntaria Fence for a solo exhibition at The Commercial in 2015. Ntaria Fence was an archeological ceramics installation in which River Red Gum branches were collected on site and cast in a mid-fire slip and glazed with Hermannsburg wood ash glaze (River Red Gum, Mulga, Palm Tree) gathered from cooking fire pits from the same area. Branches were exhibited as part of a fence, replicating an actual fence in Ntaria around domestic dwellings.
Smith completed her Master of Visual Arts (Ceramics) at Sydney College of the Arts, the University of Sydney in 2010. She was a director of the influential Sydney artist-run initiative, Locksmith Project from 2008 until 2010 (co-directors Rachel Fuller, Kenzie Larsen, Kenzee Patterson and Samuel Villabolos).
In 2010, she participated in the excavation of a site at Clunia, Penalba Del Castro in Spain.
Solo exhibitions include Ntaria Fence, The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2015); Apprentice Welder, as part of Installation Contemporary, curated by Aaron Seeto for the inaugural Sydney Contemporary Art Fair, Sydney (2013); Stone Skin, The Commercial Gallery, Sydney (2013); For the Promise of Water or Being Clean at Peloton, Sydney (2011); Boundary (with Kenzee Patterson) at MOP, Sydney (2011); For No Real Reason at Firstdraft, Sydney (2010) and If I Could Come Near Your Beauty With My Nails at Newspace Gallery, Sydney (2006).
Group exhibitions include Sculpture at Barangaroo, Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney (2016); MCA Artbar, curated by Nick Dorey and Hossein Ghaemi, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney (2014); Nocturnal Windows, curated by Ian Geraghty for the display windows of Gregory Boutique, Sydney (2014); Reality Considerations (for the sake of), curated by Eleanor Ivory Weber at 55 Sydenham Rd; Ceramica curated by Scott Donovan at the Institute of Contemporary Art Newtown, Sydney (both 2012); Everything’s Alright curated by Amanda Rowell at Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney and Structural Integrity as part of the Next Wave Festival, Melbourne (both 2010).
In 2013, Smith was shortlisted for the 2013 Fauvette Loureiro Memorial Artists’ Travel Scholarship Prize, Sydney College of the Arts, Sydney.
Her work is in the collection of Artbank.