Austin College Professor Opens Art Exhibition in Fort Worth

Signal Series Art Exhibit

Austin College professor of art Mark Smith has an exhibition of new paintings and drawings, The Signal Series, on display December 1 through January 12 at William Campbell Contemporary Art in Fort Worth. The show will feature 12 of Smith’s richly hued, abstract paintings and more than a dozen new drawings that directly address the artist’s fascination with the intricate physical and psychological networks of communication that saturate our culture. These abstract interpretations map out pathways that remain largely unseen despite their ubiquitous presence. Expressed in highly pigmented shapes and lines that emerge and recede both individually and in concert with one another, Smith says his nonrepresentational compositions reveal energy transference across space and time, delving deeply into the many complex layers of each.

Smith has long been interested in the systems and patterns around us, and as a result, continuously analyzes the spatial relationships in everything he sees. As such, The Signal Series saw its genesis in the artist’s investigations of communication-based structures that originated in the 18th and 19th centuries—the towers, light-emitting machines, and mathematical discoveries that defined early long-distance infrastructure. The ensuing pieces reference the underlying energy Smith perceives exists all around, for instance, the tangible and intangible transmission patterns within these larger, recognizable mechanisms.

Signal Series

Smith muses, “What if we could visualize the signals, the patterns, the bursts of energy, and the beautiful movement of waveforms that are made in time and space as we communicate with each other?” His latest series endeavors to encompass this idea in areas full of content deliberately applied and set organically in motion, radiating a quiet energy among the elements as they shift and float in an attempt to make connections. Each one needs another to fully complete itself, not unlike an electrical circuit (and not unlike humankind).

Smith’s paintings consist of high-density pigment on Russian birch panels. Visually and physically complex, they are more built than brushed, the result of a meticulous application process that includes layer upon layer of manipulated medium, often up to 10 strata that have been stacked, reduced, augmented, subtracted, separated, and fused. Heady yet delicate, the semi-translucent layers shift and pulsate to reveal additional information underneath and within the two-dimensional surface. Smith’s handling of his medium inspires conversations about excavation and discovery in visual and contemplative terms.

“I enjoy the pleasure of following through with the instincts behind the urge to make abstract paintings,” the artist writes. “I find it both comforting and affirming that the process itself always seems to evolve as a journey leading to insights about life and our inevitable connectedness as human beings.” In fact, Smith has created a certain synergy between intellect and intuition in this artwork, which allies cultural technological underpinnings with personal investigation and expression.

Overall, Smith’s networks of lines and shapes become quiet reflections on the fundamental yet extraordinary systems that galvanize infinitely disparate elements. They emit low reverberations throughout the picture plane, mimicking transmissions of energy, or signals, that power communications at every level of our existence. He writes, “If we could see these signals, which are everywhere, we would see a matrix that weaves our lives together. We are a glorious patchwork of connection and no doubt are part of a much bigger whole.”


Mark Smith has exhibited work extensively throughout North Texas and across the United States, including solo and group shows in Fort Worth, Dallas, Arlington, Austin, Houston, Miami, New Orleans, Santa Fe, and New York City. His work has been featured in numerous publications, among them Art in AmericaNew American Paintings,
the Star-TelegramFort Worth Weekly, Dallas Morning NewsDallas Observer, and
the Times-Picayune. He has also been heard in segments on radio stations KERA, WRR, and WBAP.

Smith’s work appears in various corporate collections, including those of Belo, Chase Manhattan Bank, Citicorp, Neiman-Marcus, Nokia, Sony Music, the Tandy Corporation, and Texas Instruments. Additional collections include those of Austin College, Boston University, the City of Denton, the City of Los Angeles, KERA, Tulane University, and the University of North Texas, among others.

Smith currently serves as Craig Professor of the Arts at Austin College, where he has taught since 1986. He has held positions as visiting artist and lecturer at Boston University, the City University of New York, the Dallas Museum of Art, the Kimbell Art Museum, Texas Christian University, Texas Woman’s University, the University of North Carolina, and the University of Texas at Austin, to name a few.

Smith earned his MFA from Queens College of the City University of New York and his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute. William Campbell Contemporary Art has represented him since 1985.


Founded in 1974 by William and Pam Campbell, William Campbell Contemporary Art exhibits high-quality contemporary art in a variety of media, including paintings, works on paper, mixed-media constructions, photography, prints, ceramics, and sculpture. By exhibiting nationally recognized artists, along with new and emerging talent, the gallery aims to nurture an awareness and appreciation of the exciting diversity found in contemporary art.

2018 Service of Lessons & Carols Opens the Holidays

Austin College Lessons and Carols

Austin College invites the community to welcome the holidays with the Service of Lessons and Carols on November 30, at 5 p.m. in Wynne Chapel on campus. The event is free and open to the campus and community.

Austin College Lessons and CarolsThe College’s Religious Life program and the Department of Music will present a program of choral and orchestral selections from Handel’s “Messiah,” along with readings of Old Testament messianic prophesies and New Testament advent and Christmas scripture.

Readers will include President Steven P. O’Day, Beth Gill, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty; Jim Hebda, assistant professor of biochemistry, and John Williams, college chaplain and director of church relations. Along with the A Capella Choir, several Austin College students will serve as readers and members of the orchestra.

Following the service, the campus Christmas tree-lighting ceremony will take place outside Wynne Chapel on Windsor Mall.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the College is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.

“Subliminal Surprises” Art Exhibit Opens Nov 5th at Austin College

Subliminal Surprises

Artists Combine Jewelry and Found Objects in Upcoming Austin College Exhibit

SHERMAN, Texas–Austin College alumnae artists Martina Noble of Sherman and Amy Veatch of Raleigh, North Carolina, explore how adornment and collection reveal and reflect the story of people’s lives in their upcoming exhibit, “Subliminal Surprises,” opening November 5 at Austin College.

The exhibit runs November 5 through December 14 in Ida Green Communication Center’s Ida Green Gallery. An artist reception is scheduled for Saturday, November 10, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the gallery in connection with Austin College’s Homecoming and Family Weekend. The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public. The gallery is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

In the exhibit, “Subliminal Surprises,” jewelry and other found and saved objects explore the markers people leave behind as they link the present with the experiences of the past, the artists say. In the exhibit, the artists present a series of assemblage pieces, each featuring an item of jewelry, surround the jewelry with a suite of other objects, found or saved, that create a context which whispers, sings, or silently points up something of the artists’ thought process, Noble said. The jewelry, she explained, tells a story as it is included with other treasures, such as a small snake skeleton, a piece of wallpaper from an old house, and biology slides from a closed laboratory.

“Through various objects, treasures, and traces of other stories, other times, the pieces delineate the meandering arc of a lifetime, and its many intersections with other lives,” Veatch said. “This show explores the topography of time, beauty, and sublimity. It looks at what we hold as precious, ordinary, and extraordinary. It asks what do we see, what do we keep, what do we leave behind? And what surprises arise as we plumb these layers of experience?”

Subliminal Surprises

In their artists’ notes, Veatch and Noble explain, “This context shows how jewelry and other objects, such as wallpaper, fill some need to adorn our lives and explain ourselves. We investigate the idea that a house is decorated or adorned, and life happens all around the adornment: nesting, birth, daily drudgery, celebrations, sadness, innovation, learning, illness, death, and the myriad decisions of a lifetime. We adorn ourselves with jewelry and keepsakes from our past, our family, our present day; and we adorn our houses with ‘jewelry’ of a sort with decorative elements and furnishings. We live our lives in this mix of declaration of self, family, culture, and society … all marked with the adornment that reveals our journey.”

About the Artists

Amy VeatchAmy Veatch, Austin College Class of 1985

Amy Veatch has set a personal goal to notice and find worth in materials or objects that are used in everyday life and mix materials to create art that reflects life and its relationships. She makes jewelry from precious and non-ferrous metal sheet, tube and wire, found objects and stones, incorporating all of her interests in two-dimensional and three-dimensional artistic expression.

Growing up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Veatch said she loved experimenting and creating art in many forms and found inspiration in the jewelry made by Native American and Mexican artists. She still loves the natural materials used in that jewelry and how it reflects landscape and architectural shapes.

As an art major at Austin College, she concentrated on painting, drawing, and sculpture, and began to incorporate metals into her work. After moving to Raleigh, North Carolina, she enrolled in a jewelry program and expanded her art. Her recent work includes an award-winning mural for Raleigh Parks, Recreation, and Cultural Resources at the city’s Peach Road Park.

Veatch lives and works in North Carolina, where she teaches jewelry and art for the City of Raleigh and North Carolina State Crafts Center.

Martina NobleMartina Noble, 1985 Austin College graduate Martina Buesing

Martina Noble, the daughter of a Naval architect, grew up on the shipyards of the port town of Hamburg, Germany. Avid sailors, her family spent summer weekends on the Elbe River and the Baltic and the North seas. During the winters, they worked on their boat. Noble’s fascination with metal and the ocean sparked there. “Life on the water is simple, beautiful, and stark: sparkling sunlight and ferocious storms,” she said.

Jewelry is an ancient, intimate art form—worn on the body, making a statement, she said. Using, silver, gold, gemstones and found materials, Noble searches simple lines for “the essence of a shape or a concept: a rolling wave, a smile. At their essence life, people, and ideas intersect and celebrate commonality.”

Noble holds a Graduate Jeweler Diploma from the Revere Academy in San Francisco, a master’s degree in international relations and economics from the Paul Nitze School of Advanced International Relations at Johns Hopkins University, and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Austin College. She lives and works out of an old fire station in Sherman.

Austin College, a private national liberal arts college located north of Dallas in Sherman, Texas, has earned a reputation for excellence in academic preparation, international study, pre-professional foundations, leadership development, committed faculty, and hands-on, adventurous learning opportunities. One of 40 schools profiled in Loren Pope’s influential book Colleges That Change LivesAustin College boasts a welcoming community that embraces diversity and individuality, with more than 40 percent of students representing ethnic minorities. A residential student body of approximately 1,275 students and a faculty of more than 100 allow a 13:1 student-faculty ratio and personalized attention. The college is related by covenant to the Presbyterian Church (USA) and cultivates an inclusive atmosphere that supports students’ faith journeys regardless of religious tradition. Founded in 1849, the college is the oldest institution of higher education in Texas operating under original name and charter.