Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Embedded Histories - Short And Long

Embedded Histories

Embedded Histories - Short & Long
Ro2 Art is proud to present Embedded Histories - Long & Short, a solo exhibition featuring new works by artist Brad Ford Smith.

Each postcard sized ink drawing is made en plein air, capturing seemingly idyllic landscapes around the city of Dallas, Texas. The artist contrasts these present day views with references of forgotten moments in history occurring on those same sites. Through these sometimes jarring juxtapositions, the artist questions how collective memory shapes local identity. Each ink rendering, whether of a sidewalk or a train trestle holds layers of embedded history just beneath the surface. The artist seeks the past to discover truths about the city he calls home. 

Over the last three years my artwork has shifted away from the tongue and cheek, pseudo-science of the Nomadic Fungi Institute to a stripped-down investigation of the city I live in. This shift was not a deliberate, intellectual decision on my part, but rather an attempt to disperse personal chaos generated by our current social and political climate. It became critical to me to not add more disinformation into the world.


I found myself asking a basic question: What the hell is true? Where do I find certainty?  The simple answer was to look under my own feet at the physical ground I stand on. This piece of earth I know to be solid and true. It is my home. But take a step and ask again. What is this piece of earth? And what about the next step?  It didn’t take long to discover just outside my door were deep layers of embedded history.


In order to concentrate on the history and the physical experience of creating onsite, I reduced my art medium to the simplest of drawing materials: pen, brush, ink, 4” x 6” watercolor paper and a folding camp chair.  With these tools stowed away in my backpack, I can access places near and far where the separation between history and time runs thin.


These thin spots at first were hard to find. There is a lot of hype in our community that I had plow through before finding these thin places. But eventually the surface debris was pushed away, and a baseball field becomes a POW camp; a corner lamp post becomes a lynching post; a golf course becomes a thriving Caddo village; an abandoned swimming pool becomes the Fort that helped push the native people out of Texas.


On Sunday, January 10th I sat across from three resting bulldozers. Between us are the scattered piles of logs that once composed  the GC & SF railroad trestle. For 125 years this trestle successfully spanned the Trinity River. As I draw, I am connecting to what was, what is now, and what will be no longer. The freshly splintered wood perfumes the air with creosote and cypress sap. Then the wind turns, and the pungent diesel fumes fill my nose and sting my eyes. 


I try to work from an unbiased viewpoint that is not influenced by politics, religion or ethnicity. Focusing on the history that drew me to that place and the experience of being in a place of history. If a Freedmen’s Town is now a dilapidated, East Dallas shopping complex, or a grassy field in the Trinity River bottoms is the first place to announce “Elvis has left the building”,  these are facts, overlooked, forgotten, swept under the rug history. It is the embedded history that I am there to connect with, and by doing so, these locations are transformed into personal icons of who we have become.

Brad Ford Smith

Embedded Histories - Short & Long

Where: Ro2 Art | The Cedars

1501 S. Ervay St. Dallas, TX 75215

When: March 13 – April 10, 2021

Opening Reception: Saturday, March 13, 12-5pm.

Stay out of the mud,

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

A Walk Is Just The Thing We Need

With all this indoor togetherness it's more important than ever to slow down and enjoy the simple things.


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Nomadic Fungi: Germination to Propagation

In the honored tradition of State Fair sideshow barkers ...

Step right up and see giant fungi eat cars right before your very eyes! These remarkable oddities of nature will thrill and chill you with their voracious appetite for automobiles. See the future of our civilization disappear as these mutated mushrooms eat car after car after car. Will anything stop these carnivore fungi before it's too late? Are we doomed to return to the days of horse drawn wagons? Is your car at this very moment being infiltrated by this sly predator?  Or is your car already being consumed from the inside?

The Nomadic Fungi Institute is thrilled to present:
Nomadic Fungi: Germination to Propagation

Nomadic Fungi are a mutated species that have functionally adapted to feed on automobiles. They have the capacity to infiltrate cars and extract nutrients directly from them by rapidly biodegrading materials made from oil, plastic and synthetic rubber. These voracious fungi constitute a serious threat to our nation’s transportation system and ultimately to the American way of life. This exhibition at the Texas Discovery Gardens brings together the most comprehensive collection of information currently available about the growth and propagation of nomadic fungi.

For the full Press Release and photographs please visit the NFI Press Page
Opening Saturday Aug 11th 1:00- 4:00pm.
Runs from Aug 11th - Oct. 28th, 2018.

Fair Park
3601 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd
Dallas TX. 75210

Friday, June 1, 2018

Roadside Snacks Opens at the Art Car Museum

As part of their twenty year anniversary celebration, the Art Car Museum has asked NFI to install a new exhibition in their gallery. Below is the press release:

The Nomadic Fungi Institute presents, Roadside Snacks, a survey of eyewitness accounts and laboratory tests pertaining to the proliferation of nomadic fungi. The Nomadic Fungi Institute is a pseudoscience based "Institution" established to investigate and document sightings of giant mushrooms growing on automobiles.

NFI also conducts laboratory experiments to ascertain the probability and rate at which these parasitic fungi will spread and inevitably impact the American transportation system. Dr. Brad Ford Smith founded the Nomadic Fungi Institute in 2013 and has been fastidiously pursuing all leads pertaining to these mutated fungi.

Drop by and find out if you should be concerned about that knocking under your hood.

For more information on the exhibition visit the World Of Nomadic Fungi

Opens June 3rd
Runs from June 3rd -  November 23rd 2018

Art Car Museum
140 Heights BLVD
Houston Tx. 77007


Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Alone with a Bottle of Ink

Over the last month I have been spending time at the house/art immersion of the two artists known as Chuck and George. They gave me a key so I was able to drop by whenever I pleased. The result is 14 ink drawings of the visually overloaded interior of the world they live in.

Their house from the front porch to the back gate is overflowing with artwork, artifacts and curiosities. All of the walls and even some of the floors are custom painted and just about every surface has artwork on it. Not only with Chuck and George's artwork but also the works by hundreds of other artists too. It's safe to say this is the biggest collection of slightly demented regional art in Texas. You can understand why I was excited about the opportunity to draw in this environment.

On May 20th the Chuck and George house will be part of the Visual Speed Bump Art Tour. I recommend you earmark the day to spend time at this wonderful house as well as visiting the other 13 studios on the self guided tour.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Interior Views of Chuck and George

Brad Ford Smith

There's nothing like spending time at a friends' house, and when they loan you a key so you can come and go as you please, it's only natural to take full advantage of the kindness by dropping by when they are not home and drawing pictures of their living room, dining room, den, kitchen, bedroom and bathroom too, sure, why not!

And just to show that Chuck and George harbor no hard feelings towards my intimate doodlings they are displaying all 14 drawings during the Visual Speed Bump Art Tour. The VSBAT is one day only, May 20th, so grab some snacks and go see some art.