Visionary self-taught artists are often lumped together into the category of Outsider Art, but in the case of Dale Smith this designation fails. Smith, who is 82 years old, had a working life as an owner of Avis car rentals and a True Value hardware store, but what he truly is is a virtuosically talented and devoted maker of models. These aren’t built from kits or plans or any other kind of blueprint; they are spectacularly original creations fashioned from logs of walnut, hand-hammered copper wire, layers and layers of paint, tiny watch crystals, and whatever else Smith finds to fill his sculptures’ needs. The end results take the form of those quintessentially American subjects of old cars and football, and while I care not one whit for such things, I am nevertheless utterly awed by Smith’s bespoke creations. Why? They evidence the marriage of inventiveness with hard work, of convention with originality, of curiosity with fearlessness. Smith has it all in spades; that ’46 Buick and pigskin are lucky to have him.
—Lori Waxman 2019-04-30 1:59 PM