map new 170 web

map new 170 web

On the Trail: Denise Smith MFA Graduating Show

Denise Smith is from Thunder Bay, Ontario and is a current MFA candidate at the University of Regina.  Denise received her BFA with honours from Lakehead University in Thunder Bay in 2010. Her ceramic sculptures explore the conceptualization of wilderness in Canada through the development of tourism, kitsch, souvenirs, and Provincial and National Parks over the past century. 

She is particularly interested in the development of tourism in Banff National Park and Algonquin Provincial Park. Through her ceramic sculptures she questions the consequences of creating boundaries around nature and turning it into a park, and whether that truly protects the land. Seeing the parks as invaluable, irreplaceable, and uniquely Canadian yet recognizing the park system as an active participant in a process of mediation, she addresses the unforeseen impacts of outdoor tourism.

Smith’s sculptures engage viewers through delight and humor, expressing a sincere appreciation for the parks, while also informing visitors of the unintended consequences of turning nature into a park. They are landscape dioramas in the round: the viewer must walk around the whole piece to understand the full story. The sculptures are rooted firmly in narrative tradition, using devices such as pathos, satire and dramatic irony to address the unintentional effects on the landscape, the wildlife and ourselves.

Opening Reception: Friday, April 15, 4 - 7 pm