DRAF Study #21: Michael E. Smith by Ned McConnell

DRAF’s Study Series are a series of focused case-studies of works from the David Roberts Collection. Each presentation centres on a single work or series. DRAF invites a writer to study the work in depth, from its technical and material history to its position in the artist’s practice and contemporary debates.

Ned McConnell chose to get Untitled, a 2013 sculptural painting by Michael E. Smith, out of storage for a timely study of the work that considers connections between the ongoing global pandemic, post-industrial economic decline and the climate crisis. He writes:

“Uncertainty is a factor of all life, however in a global pandemic, whose end is yet to appear in sight, it is the defining factor of daily existence. Untitled is a work that brings into focus the uncertainty and everyday decay that surrounds us, that which is often unnoticeable. Like the leaves of a Rhododendron or the scrap of polyester on the roadside, but also in relation to the human, that we are all made of matter that is in decline and will one day return to the ground or ether, one way or another.” (Ned McConnell, Study #21, 2020)

Read Study #21 in full.

Ned McConnell is Curator at DRAF.

Untitled is made of translucent plastic sheeting, polyester fur, Rhododendron leave and urethane resin and is 50 x 40cm. It has been part of the David Roberts Collection since 2014.