Shawn Smith, Cheetah, 2015. Plywood, ink, and acrylic paint, 16 x 70 x 12.5 in.

Shawn Smith

Arlington, Virginia


What is our relationship to the digital, and how is the digital impacting us? The answer for Shawn Smith is one pixel at a time. In his recent show, “Pixels, Predators, and Prey,” Smith mapped out the interaction between the natural and the digital, the real and the simulated, in 10 eye-popping sculptures of animals and, for the first time, humans. In his hands, clusters of painted wood sticks mutate into their subjects— a kind of 21st-century, dimensional pointillism on steroids. Moved from their natural habitat into the gallery and shown frozen in action, they were at once recognizable and eerily mathematical. Only ambient, breathy sounds filled the silence, a NASA recording of seismic oscillations from the sun. Smith grew up in Dallas, Texas, where he experienced nature for the most part through television and the computer. Now, he takes advantage of this filter by using pictures culled off the Internet as his primary source material and translating data chunks into the building blocks of his sculptures …see the entire review in the print version of May’s Sculpture magazine.