Clare Smith's mixed English/Chinese heritage informs her perspective on issues of identity and categorisation. Her nomadic childhood and early adulthood have meant a somewhat ambivalent relationship to place, reinforced by the sense of ambiguity that comes from her mixed identity. Smith works with drawing, print media, collage and moving image to investigate this ambivalence, with references to craft, the importance of labour and the handmade.
Her current focus is on the heterotopic spaces of gardens and as well as other managed natural spaces which though ostensibly pastoral are often sites of industry and labour. Gardens are dialectical spaces encompassing linear and circular time, work and leisure, control and letting be; they are bounded by hedges and fences but open to the imagination and the sky and they are curated spaces in which plants from all over the world live and thrive alongside each other.