Present Tense

The Art of Memphis, 2001-Now

Dolph Smith
watercolor on board behind glass, shelf of found wood, graphite, 20 x 30 x 7

Artist Dolph Smith

From the collection of Don DuMont

Dolph Smith graduated from the Memphis Academy of Art (now Memphis College of Art) in 1960, then taught at MCA for many years, where he founded its highly regarded papermaking program. He has produced notable works in watercolor, paper, metals, and wood for decades, all equally accomplished. In 2011 he was honored with the Tennessee Governor's Arts Award.

Gaters (2007), alludes to the houses in the river bottoms down at the water's edge where they are built on stilts and appear to float up in high water in heavy floods. The building in the piece is made to move up and down on the posts. This is one of a series of similar works combining vertical watercolor backgrounds with horizontal platforms featuring small sculptural buildings as a tableau representing scenes of the rural landscape of West Tennessee around the artist's current home in Ripley, TN. Smith has long explored aspects of the surrounding region of West Tennessee, East Arkansas, and Northwest Mississippi, referred to by him as 'Tennarkippi' in several of his works over many years. In this series of works, Smith further wished to envelope viewers in an atmospheric narrative of the place by composing short vignettes to accompany each sculpture, cited below.

Next Artist

Previous Artist

Artist Hub

Dixon Gallery and GardensNorthwestern Mutual