Clare Smith Kent, United Kingdom
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Clare Smith was born in Penang, Malaysia and was educated in England. She studied Oriental studies in Cambridge before spending 15 years in Luxembourg, returning to England in 1999 to study art as a mature student in Canterbury Kent and realise a long-held dream of making a life in the arts. Her mixed English/Chinese heritage informs her perspective on issues of identity and categorisation.

Smith works across genres in drawing, printmaking, painting and filmmaking and she is interested in the embodied experience of place and space. Her practice often involves pattern, chance and process, using strategies such as cutting, tearing, gluing and stitching with a reference to craft, the importance of labour and the handmade. A prevalent element of her work is the grid – its rigid structures which regulate and provide order are fitted into, broken down or rebelled against.

There is a delicacy and fragility to some of Smith’s work, which reflects a constant sense of the precariousness of physical existence.

She has made work looking at the heterotopic spaces of gardens and as well as other managed natural spaces which though ostensibly pastoral are often sites of industry and labour. Gardens are dialectical spaces encompassing linear and circular time, work and leisure, control and letting be; they are bounded by hedges and fences but open to the imagination and the sky and they are curated spaces in which plants from all over the world live and thrive alongside each other. This focus on particular garden spaces has led to work exploring place and memory and a stronger focus on the autobiographical.

Collaboration is part of Smith’s practice and she is co-founder of Dover Arts Development (DAD) together with painter, Joanna Jones. This involves working with many different artists, curation, organisation, event management, creating networks across East Kent and influencing the public realm in Dover.

Clare works from a studio in Dover. She has an MA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins and her work exists in collections in the UK, mainland Europe and the USA.


Barbara Hepworth's Garden (St Ives), Ink on watercolour paper, 2019, £67.5

Details Purchase

For sale

#31 Chemo day Drawing 9 December 2019, Ink and marker pens on Chinese practice paper, 2019, £160


For sale

Easter Sunday 2020, Watercolour, 2020


Projects and exhibitions


Beachtime Stories

02/11/2019 — 01/12/2019

An exhibition of my series of 100 intimate black and white ink drawings in the Line Gallery at the Margate School. Many if not most of these seaside scenes in Kent. The drawings are based on my huge library of photographs which "I realised were asking to be used as a resource."

A screening programme to include the trilogy of films, shot...

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The Margate School, Margate Details

Watercress and Daffodils

01/05/2018 — 01/10/2019

I was commissioned by Dover District Council (DDC) to create an artist’s film and a series of drawings/monotypes resulting from my research into the history of Russell Gardens in Dover and its current use as a social space of work and recreation. The project wasdelivered with Dover Arts Development (DAD) by the Kearsney Parks project, a DDC...

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Russell Gardens, Dover Details

Encountering Place

15/07/2017 — 16/07/2017

I was delighted to be invited as Artist in residence for the second Wealden Literary Festival in 2017. The work made during the residency was a response to a number of questions. How to deal with or respond to this space? I had a strong feeling that I couldn’t go on working in the same way as before. It was hard to identify the exact...

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Wealden Literary Festival, Woodchurch (Kent_ Details
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