In her work, contemporary artist Delaney Smith investigates the ongoing relationships between material, process, and form. Primarily interested in books as tangible objects, she deconstructs them to their elemental components—paper, ink, glue, and symbol—in order to reexamine their function on both a physical and conceptual level.
Recalling layered bound pages, Smith’s large-scale installations are composed of delicate sheets of paper that billow and fold, creating pockets of light and shadow. The result is an enticing mass of textures and subtle hues that invites the viewer to reconsider the familiar and experience the irregular beauty of natural materials.
Similarly, the artist’s interactive works question our preconceived notions of what books are and what they mean. Wanting to encourage her viewer to take a more active role in exploring her books, Smith often includes graphite, needle & thread, and embroidery scissors alongside her works. By allowing her viewer to physically alter the pages, Smith subverts the traditional approach to handling a book—giving her participants a voice in an ongoing collective story.
Delaney Smith received her BFA in Graphic Communications from the University of Southern Mississippi in 2007. During and after school, she was a seamstress at Avalon Sewing Company in Hattiesburg, MS, where she created soft furnishings and window coverings. In 2008, she took a position as a graphic designer in New Orleans, LA. Two years later, she arrived in Denton, TX, to earn her MFA in Fibers from the University of North Texas. Her work has recently been selected for Materials: Hard and Soft 2014 and is part of the permanent collection at Texas Women’s State University. Currently Delaney is an artist-in-residence at the Houston Center for Contemporary Craft.
Written by Laura Rossi.