Chadron State College
Chadron State College

Exhibit showcases artist's passion for landscape and light

January 22, 2014

Robin Smith
Robin Smith

In a show that came together “serendipitously and quickly,” according to Dr. Robin Smith, he will exhibit 19 of his oil paintings featuring the Buttes and Badlands of Dawes County Nebraska and several still life paintings.

This is Smith's first one-man show at CSC. It is open now through Feb. 5 in the Memorial Hall Main Gallery.

“I am moved by the sense of scale and the grandeur of the landscape and sky in this part of our world. To share this through painting is an ongoing commitment. Historically significant geographical western landmarks are featured in this series of paintings. The Buttes and Badlands in Dawes County in Northwestern Nebraska are as stunningly beautiful as any in this high desert region, called The Great American Desert,” Smith said in his artist’s statement.

Smith was the Chadron State College instructional design coordinator and also taught the Introduction to Graduate Studies course among his duties from 2000 to 2009.

His work has been displayed in several other CSC shows with fellow artists and he has had one-man shows in other parts of the country. His work is included prominent in public and private collections.

Chadron may not seem a likely home for a Cape Cod native, but Smith said the light in this region is very much like his native seacoast.

“Growing up on Cape Cod gave me a sense of the vastness of the landscape, similar to this area - the light is infused in both places. Light is the essence of what painting is about,” he said.

Chadron residents may be familiar with Smith’s work which has been on display at the Bean Broker for the past several years.

“I conduct persistent research into space and form within a narrow iconographic range using the commodity of light, land and sky. I paint outdoors and I work from digital images on a Thunderbolt display,” Smith said in his artist’s statement.

He first visited Chadron in February of 1982 as part of a seven-year job as an Artist in Residence with the Nebraska Arts Council. He enjoyed working with high school students across the state and other groups.

In 2000, Smith finished his Ph.D. in education at Arizona State University.

“I was looking for a way to re-enter academia hoping it would lead to a way to enhance my ability to create. It brought me to a place I consider the center of everything and has been the catalyst for my further exploration of nature through visualization,” he said.

When local residents bemoan that they live in the middle of nowhere, Smith is quick to respond that they live in the middle of everything.

Future plans for the prolific painter who said he has enough paintings to fill the CSC Main Gallery four times over, include a show at Vanderbilt University in 2015. It will include three of the small paintings called “studies” in the current CSC show and seven other pieces.

A show of Smith’s work is also scheduled for March to August of 2016 at the Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center.

—CSC Information Services