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The patterns in Lorna E. Smith’s paintings, prints, encaustic (wax) pieces and woven metal sculptures are a mixture of references to Celtic culture and contemporary art. Her art pieces extend the rich heritage of Celtic geometric art and add to the historical and contemporary art dialogues.
Lorna studied art and art history at the American University in Paris, France and the San Francisco Art Institute. She earned a BFA with Honors from the Union Institute and University in Montpelier Vermont in 2004 and a MFA from the Art Institute of Boston in 2006.
This artist has always had an affinity for the geometric forms found in nature, science and math. She discovered Celtic art in 2001 when a friend gave her a book written by noted Scottish art historian George Bain on the knot work panels from ancient British and Pictish Celtic art and the Book of Kells, Durrow and Lindisfarne. Through artistic practice and research she has been able to establish the Celtic artisan’s use of the Golden Ratio, the five Platonic Solids (two thousand years before Plato) and many other patterns found in nature, math and science.
A year after she began working with Celtic patterns a group of cousins from Stonehouse, Scotland contacted her family for the first time. They told her that her maternal grandfather’s family, who had emigrated from Scotland to the US to work in production dying and weaving, had also been engaged in the specialized craft of silk weaving. The following year Lorna joined this group in their petition to the Queen of England for clan status for the family. She is now a member of the Sorbie clan of Lanarkshire, Scotland. Ms. Smith uses the knowledge of her heritage as motivation in her search for depth of meaning in the geometric art and she considers Celtic art to be the heritage of everyone with British and European ancestry.
She says: “I have always found that the energy of natural forms is reflected in Celtic geometries. These patterns have been handed down to us by our ancestors and have been used by people then and now to reflect different moods, spiritual connections, inspirations and mysteries. I revel in rich color, intricate form, juicy technique and visual movement in my endeavor to excite the eye, engage the viewer and do as an ancient Chinese proverb recommends:
“Seek not the ways of the people of old; seek instead what they sought.”