As an artist I contribute my personal vision and response to social issues through narrative sculpture. My installations combine ceramic figures with digital photo montages composed within imagined spaces. The concepts for my work have ranged from human consciousness, to nostalgia, and currently my concerns for environmental impacts to the food we consume.” Nan Smith


in the studio

Nan Smith is a full-time studio artist who maintains her sculpture studio in Gainesville, Florida. Nan, a Professor Emerita, at the University of Florida’s School of Art + Art History presents workshops and demonstrations on figure sculpture and mold-making. Her work has been published and exhibited internationally.

Nan Smith’s recent artwork focuses on water conservation. The “Water: CodeBlue” Project is comprised of poetic artworks created after researching conservation solutions. This ongoing project has taken form as a large-scale installation, tile murals, still lives. and photographs on paper.

For the past year Nan has been exploring intimate still lives loosely based on historic tea ware. These new porcelain server sets juxtapose her love of sculpture, spatial design, and the vessel. Through this series she questions how human water use can impact animals.


“I am excited to offer a new line of utilitarian vessels and small artworks for purchase through RADIUS GALLERY.”

Inspired by my Dalmatian, Liam, the black and white patterned porcelains have the look of glass. The patterns are derived from nature and clothe the forms to enhance shapes and movement.

Current Exhibitions
  • The Dreams of our Fathers: Environment, Technology & Urban Landscapes, Florida Atlantic University’s Ritter Art Gallery, Curated by Veronique Cote On View: January 18 – March 1, 2024
  • The Power of Resilience and Hope – Photography and the Holocaust: Then & Now, CEPA
    Gallery, Contemporary Photography & Visual Arts Center, Buffalo, New York, Curated by Robert Hirsch. On View: January 20 – May 31, 2024


“As climate change increasingly elevates water, through extremes of scarcity and excess, to the status of destroyer of worlds, even subtle messages like those carried by the Thirsty Nest still lifes of American ceramist Nan Smith press with crystalline clarity the message that opportunity is not infinite. The time to act is short as a candle length and consequential as a dying flame.”

(Glen R. Brown)

recent project

The Mercury installation informs the public about environmental impacts to seafood and the need for conserving our oceans and seas. The Research | Mercury Art + Science page is intended as a resource about environmental mercury. Learn more about the development of the installation and the research that was conducted to support the art work on our Research | Mercury Art + Science page.

Narrated by Nan Smith,
Directed and Produced by Alan Saperstein

[ view a larger video on our Media page ]

“INVOKING THE KIND OF AGGRESSIVELY SYMBOLIC PROGRAM that one associates with 16th century fresco cycles and complex ensembles of allegorical statuary, Nan Smith’s Mercury seizes space and conjures within it a monumental disquisition in which every surface and form participates with ringing clarity.”

Glen R. Brown, PhD

Professor of Art History, Kansas State University - Ceramics: Art and Perception Magazine

“Throughout her career, Smith has used the ability to mimic almost any surface or form to create trompe-loeil images. Her work has never been about simple illusionism, however. This is a device Smith uses to examine complex issues. Mercury continues this dynamic of deceptive simplicity.”

Anthony Merino

Art Critic and Curator based in Massachusetts - Ceramics Ireland Magazine

“Although Mercury relies on extensive research to show steps by which the damage is done, like Smith’s other works, it presents its message as an experience in which the orchestration of forms and interplay of invented symbols have an intrinsic aesthetic resonance.”

John L. Ward, PhD, Art Historian

Professor Emeritus, University of Florida - Sculpture Magazine

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