Gemma Smith was born Sydney in 1978. In 1999 she completed a Bachelor of Visual Arts at Sydney College of the Arts and in 2004 an honours year at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane.
Gemma Smith’s work begins with abstract painting, with a specific interest in colour’s ability to subvert the flat picture plane. Her early paintings displayed a restless geometry with shard-like areas puzzled together in crystalline formations – their planes advancing and retreating. This fascination with the shifting, sculptural possibilities of colour led to three-dimensional “paintings” such as the dynamic Adaptables made from painted, hinged plywood (that can be twisted and manipulated into infinite configurations) and the perspex Boulder series (utilising multi-coloured, transparent acrylics to create gem-like polyhedrons of overlapping colour) whose colour compositions alter dramatically depending upon the viewer’s position.
Recent paintings have departed from precise geometries and exact their complex colour-play from a combination of spontaneous painterly gesture and hard-edge colour-blocking that tangle and weave together to create intriguing spatial incongruities.
Gemma Smith’s work has been included in many significant exhibitions in recent years: Primavera 2008, Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney; Contemporary Australia: OPTIMISM at Queensland Art Gallery, Brisbane (2008); Cubism & Australian Art, Heide Museum of Modern Art, Melbourne (2009); Gemma Smith — Entanglement Factor, Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces, Melbourne (2009); Case Study — Gemma Smith considers the work of Margo Lewers, Penrith Regional Gallery & The Lewers Bequest, Penrith, New South Wales, 2011.
Gemma Smith has been the recipient of numerous grants and her public artworks include Ceiling Artwork at the Supreme Court and District Court, Brisbane (2011-12) and Synchro, Adaptable (Red Oxide/Peach) at Brisbane Airport (2010).