Bernadette Smith

Artist Bio

Bernadette Smith is a cross disciplinary Sydney based artist working within photomedia and installation. Her art emphasises the non-human world as a response to human induced climate crisis and a predominant anthropocentric view of the universe. In particular she uses photomedia to raise awareness of water sustainability informed by her involvement in environmental activism.

Her current series explores the beauty of water while exploring coastal water ecologies under threat from climate change and overdevelopment. Recent exhibitions include Linton and Kay Gallery, Perth Centre of Photography, Sunstudio Emerging Photographers Prize, Fishers Ghost Art Award, Art on the Greenway, Beams Festival, Newtown Art Seat, Sculpture at Sawmillers, Electrofringe Festival and SCA Showcase at Verge Gallery. She has exhibited internationally with solo shows in Berlin, San Francisco and Singapore and has been a finalist in several major art prizes.

In 2020 she was selected for a Bundanon artist residency and featured in the 10th Canberra Festival of Art. She is represented by Linton and Kay gallery in Perth, Manyung Gallery in Melbourne and Soho Galleries in Sydney.

Artist Statement

Water Water Everywhere is an art installation that celebrates the beauty of water emphasising both a love and reverence yet referencing the flipside lesson of the Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. This poem teaches us a moral tale that warns of the dangers of disrespecting nature still relevant today. The lesson to be learned is that along with appreciating water’s aesthetic and life-giving qualities humankind must also consider the consequences of failing to adopt a less anthropocentric view of the world. Such failure has led to catastrophic floods, drought, bushfires, fresh water shortages, mass fish and fauna kills, rising tides, social instability and the exponential growth of climate refugees forcing many to live out of a suitcase.

The concept behind this installation is the way climate change and the Anthropocene era is challenging our sense of stability and what is normal. I am particularly trying to raise awareness of water sustainability in ways that communicate obliquely yet arouse an emotional connection to the non-human world.