international drawing annual 9 exhibition-in-print
online resource

Robin Cole Smith
Littleton, Colorado

detail image


I am a borderlander at heart.  I live and work along the boundaries: visual, metaphorical, natural, and spiritual.  But these boundaries, though they form the very structure of our society, are remarkably permeable; they have a habit of softening, of becoming tangled and overgrown.  It is within this softening—an oscillation between familiar constraints and inexplicable presences—that I situate myself as an artist. It is a liminal place where our human impulse to judge and hierarchize is quieted, where a natural way of seeing floats quietly to the surface of our hyper-stimulated minds.

In the simplest possible sense, my work is an exploration of the boundary between light and dark.  I address this literally, with image and execution, but also metaphorically: this work speaks of the known and the unknown, the seen and the unseen. Though I work in many mediums, they all share common qualities of simplicity and directness. Drawing is my primary methodology, as it is extraordinarily well suited to my conceptual pursuits.  The attributes of a monochromatic medium—at its core, an act of playing light against dark in order to achieve form and illusion—echo the distilled, elemental aspects of the images. Drawing is a medium in which every choice is evident, every mark present and accounted for. It is intimate, intuitive, and direct.

My work represents an exploration of an inner wilderness by way of an outer one; it hinges on my belief that the natural world is not only an inherent part of us as human beings (and we of it), but that it is the original, exquisitely sensitive mirror in which we find our own inner terrain and wildness reflected. My work has always been an act of reverence for the natural world. There is an element of science in it, in the desire to study and observe.  But there is an element of spirit, too, in the continual reaching for something just beyond the visible.  The natural world possesses a magic for me, one which I attempt to elicit by working within the bounds of realism as one might work within a poetic form, utilizing the formal constraints to evoke something beyond the boundary of those very limitations.  I strive to carve out a compelling space in which those peripheral presences can stand forth.  A space of quiet, of conscious co-existence with both the seen and the unseen.





born: 1985, Littleton, Colorado


Laguna College of Art and Design, MFA, 2013
Burren College of Art, Post-Baccalaureate, 2009
Colorado College, BA, 2007

selected awards/honors

Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation individual artist grant recipient – $15,000  2012
Second Place, Shades of Gray competition – Drawing magazine  2012

selected publications

International Drawing Annual 9 (INDA) Manifest Gallery, Ohio,  forthcoming 2015
International Drawing Annual 8 (INDA) Manifest Gallery, Ohio, Spring 2014
Post-Modern Times journal, fall 2013
Southwest Art Magazine, "21 Under 31," September, 2013

selected solo or two-person exhibits

Instinct (MFA Thesis Exhibition), Arena 1 Gallery, Santa Monica, California, 2013
Nature | Nurture – Exhibit [A] Gallery, Long Beach, California,  2012
Still Point – Boom Gallery, Denver, Colorado, 2010

selected group shows

Inner Journey/Visual Experience, Gallery 1261, Denver, Colorado, 2014
5th Annual Drawing Discourse — University of North Carolina, Asheville, North Carolina,  2014
Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Beach, California, 2013
Walker Fine Art, Denver, Colorado,  2012

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