Howard Smith: Bridge

Kopparsmedjan, Fiskars

The American born artist Howard Smith, who resides and works at Fiskars in Raasepori, turns 85 this year. To celebrate his birthday the artist, together with his friends Hannele Grönlund, Barbro Kulvik and Antti Siltavuori, has mounted an exhibition that represents his wide ranging production of sculptures, paper cuts, assemblies of found objects and collages as wel as drawings and paintings. The greater part of these works are now exhibited publicly for the firs time; the earliest dating back to 1962, when Smith arrived in Finland and stayed – a gift to us. The accompanying music consists of compositions by Olli Kari, taking as his point of departure the sounds reverberating from Smith’s outdoor creations when gently tapped or struck with various implements.

Five years ago a broad Howard Smith retrospective exhibition took place in conjunction with which a splendid art book was issued by the Like publishing company. How is it possible that after that event, there still remains such an amount of never-before-seen works? Smith clearly belongs to that group of artists for whom creativity is a way of life and source of strength. In the garden and woodland around his home stand some one hundred works and those in the interior have never been accurately counted.
Strangely, it was for decades difficult to place Howard Smith in the context of Finnish art: designer, graphic artist, sculptor or painter? His designs have been produced by Arabia and his textiles have been included in the Vallila Interiors collection among others. To consider Smith strictly an industrial designer seems limiting although he received the Finnis Fovernment Industrial Design Award in 2001.