Do I become who I am when you’re looking at me?
Over the past four years, Dee Smart has rapidly risen in the collective consciousness of the Australian art world—with two of the best known and loved portraits from the 2017 and 2018 Archibald Prizes. This year has seen her as a finalist in the Portia Geach prize, semi-finalist in the Moran Prize and subsequently and significantly, the inclusion of her work in the Bennett Collection for women artists in Texas, USA. She is only the third Australian artist to be included in this prestigious collection.
Smart's first solo exhibition at Nanda\Hobbs in Sydney is a powerful and important conversation about the perception of beauty across the centuries. Titled A Synopsis of Love, the artist delves into the theatrical portraiture of the court painters from the time of Henry VIII. In her expressive contemporary portraits—painted from life—Smart recontextualises her intriguing, beautiful subjects with the pop sensibility of Warhol, morphed with an exquisite injection of ironic bling.
At its heart, Dee Smart’s narrative crashes headlong into today’s obsession with self and desire. It is an important conversation in paint—holding a mirror to our online modern society—investigating how we find love in a crowded, yet, somehow evermore isolating world.