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Dean Smith

Dean Smith

Dean Smith is a ceramic artist, working with special effect high fire glazes combined with low fire enamels and precious metal lustres.

Dean Smith was born in Brisbane in 1971. In that same year his family moved (back) to New Zealand, having lived in Australia for only 3 months. Smith has Māori ancestry through his father. His Great, great, great grandmother was Raiha Raiha Tamaihana, a member of the Ngati Toa tribe of the South Island. Through his ancestry Dean Smith is a member of the Ngati Toa tribe, the Marae of which is situated in Kaikoura in the South Island. Growing up in New Zealand in a country farmhouse between the forest and the ocean in Opononi gave Dean a special connection with nature which carries through into his ceramic art today. In 1981 Dean’s parents moved the family again to Australia, first to Brisbane, then to the cooler climes of Victoria. 

Dean was introduced to pottery as a teenager. He began making pots with his father and firing them in their backyard gas-fired kiln. Largely self-taught, he received some training at Southbank TAFE in Brisbane and from family friend and Master Potter Ted Secombe who introduced him to crystalline glazes.

In his practice Dean interweaves past and present/his ancestry and his immediate experiences/New Zealand and Cental Victoria/the imagined and the real. Dean aims to link the natural world with the industrial world – sourcing inspiration from crystals, rocks, metals, the landscape, the Seasons, machinery, minimalism and electronic soundscapes, as well as his Maori ancestry.

Dean currently lives in Central Victoria where the raw post-mining landscapehas a strong influence on his work.

“The landscape is jagged from the gold-mining activity of the past. These details become surface markings on my ceramics, either through scoring or drawing with enamels and palladium. The details in the glaze surface is also important to me – adding depth and feeling through areas of micro or macro crystallisations and movement of colour.”

Dean Smith’s artwork has featured in important national and international ceramic exhibitions and has won several major awards, including the Silver Prize, Taiwan Ceramics Biennale 2012, Special Citation, 8th Cheongju International Craft Competition, South Korea 2013, winner, Clunes National Ceramic Award,  2013 and winner, Vase Finder International 9th Annual Exhibition, USA 2014.

Alcaston Gallery exhibited Dean Smith’s work for the first time in 2015, with his solo exhibition Erbium and Stone. In the same year Dean Smith was announced Winner of the 2015 Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, and was represented by Alcaston Gallery at the Sydney Contemporary Art Fair 2015.

In 2016 Dean Smith featured in Alcaston Gallery's exhibition Provenance Does Matter: The Collectors' Exhibition. This significant exhibition featured major artworks by important Australian and international artists with impeccable provenance. Curated by Beverly Knight, each artwork has had the added prestige of being selected by critical appraisers to be featured in significant museum exhibitions and art prizes.

Dean Smith was a finalist in the 2016 Biennial North Queensland Ceramic Art Award and the Förderpreis Keramik der Nassauischen Sparkasse/ Talent Award, KeramikMuseum westerwald Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany.

In April 2017 Alcaston Gallery presented Dean Smith’s solo exhibition 'Pink Terraces', his most adventurous exhibition to date. Smith also featured in the exhibition 'The Extractive Frontier: Mining For Art' at the 2017 Castlemaine State Festival in Victoria, Australia.


© The Artist and Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne 

Solo Exhibitions:

2013  Outer Moons, Raglan Gallery, Manly, NSW, Australia

2014  Showcase 2014, Shepparton Art Museum, Shepparton, Victoria, Australia

2015  Erbium & Stone, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

2017  Pink Terraces, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


Selected Group Exhibitions:

2012  Engaging Forms, curated by Anna Maas of Skepsi Gallery, The Barn Gallery, Montsalvat, VIC, Australia

2013  Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Gushan District, Taiwan

2013  Expression of Self in Clay, curated by Anna Maas of Skepsi Gallery, The Barn Gallery, Montsalvat, VIC, Australia

2013  Periscope, curated by Deborah Ratcliff, Castlemaine Visual Arts Biennale, VIC, Australia

2013  Something Old Something New, 8th Cheongju International Craft Competition, South Korea

2014  Quiet conversations, Skepsi Gallery at Montsalvat, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

2014  Vase Finder International 9th Annual Exhibition, USA

2014  New Design 2, Sturt Gallery, Mittagong,NSW, Australia

2015  All About Art: Brisbane, Alcaston Gallery Annual Collector's exhibition at White Canvas Gallery, Brisbane, Queensland 

2015  Sydney Contemporary 15, Carriageworks represented by Alcaston Gallery, Sydney, NSW, Australia

2016  Provenance Does Matter: The Collectors' Exhibition, Alcaston Gallery, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia


2017  The Extractive Frontier: Mining for Art, co-curated by Beverly Knight and Clare Wright, Castlemaine State Festival, Castlemaine, Victoria, Australia


Selected Awards:

2010  Winner, Premier’s Award for Excellence, Tasmanian Craft Fair, Sponsored by the Dept. of Premier and Cabinet Tasmania, Deloraine, TAS, Australia 

2012  Silver Prize, Taiwan Ceramics Biennale, Yingge Ceramics Museum, New Taipei City, Taiwan

2013  Winner, Clunes National Ceramic Award, Clunes, Australia

2014  Winner, Vase Finder International 9th Annual Exhibition, USA

2015   Winner, Manningham Victorian Ceramic Art Award, Victoria, Australia

2016   Finalist, Förderpreis Keramik der Nassauischen Sparkasse/ Talent Award, KeramikMuseum westerwald Höhr-Grenzhausen, Germany

For a full CV, please contact Alcaston Gallery at