Dr. Matthew Ryan Smith is a freelance writer, independent curator, and sessional
professor based in London, ON. 

He completed his Ph.D. in Art and Visual Culture at Western University in 2012. His
current research addresses affect, trauma, and the ethics of spectatorship in
contemporary photography and video practices with special attention to Indigenous
perspectives. In 2012 he was named by Artinfo Canada in their "Top 30 Under
30," a list of Canadians under 30 showing promise in the art world. 

Matthew has published extensively on art and culture in publications including Canadian
Art, Prefix Photo, ESSE, Briarpatch, Blackflash, C Magazine, Alternatives Journal, First
American Art, Artinfo Canada, Magenta, artUS, Contemporary Canadian Glass, Visual Arts
News, FUSE, and Afterimage: The Journal of Media Arts and Criticism. 

He has also published in several academic journals including (forthcoming) Biography: An
Interdisciplinary Quarterly, (forthcoming) Photography and Culture, (forthcoming)
Intersection: Canadian Journal of Music, (forthcoming) Canadian Journal of Film Studies,
Yishu: Journal of Contemporary Chinese Art, The Senses and Society, TOPIA: Canadian
Journal of Cultural Studies, Canadian Journal of Native Studies, WRECK: Graduate Journal
of Art History, Visual Art & Theory, and Shift: Queen’s Journal of Visual and
Material Culture. 

For guest lectures, panel presentations, and other speaking engagements, e-mail:

Book Chapters

(Forthcoming) Tell-Tale Signs: Graffiti as Public Art in Johannesburg, 1994-2014 (2016)

My chapter for the edited anthology Public Art in South Africa: 1999-2014 engages the much-neglected...




(Forthcoming) A Conversation with Truman Lowe, First American Art Magazine (2015)


(Forthcoming) Upload: Recreated Video and Film Art on Video-Sharing Websites, Journal of Curatorial Studies (2015)

Amateur artists and artist-professionals recreate and upload intermedial artworks by visual artists Bas Jan Ader,...



(Forthcoming) Jeff Bierk: Curtains (2017)

Art Gallery of Grimsby


(Forthcoming) Gyan Chauper (2014)

Nuit Blanche (Toronto)



Some Things Last a Long Time (2012)

This exhibition investigates the manner in which our private lives precondition the act of seeing....



(Co-Curated) 42° 59' 81° 14' Mapping London's International Legacy (2012)

London, Ontario has often been described as a city that nurtures a rich vein of...



(Re)verse Ekphrasis: Works from the McIntosh Collection (2009)

As the exhibition title suggests, (Re)verse Ekphrasis: Works from the McIntosh Collection, flips traditional notions...


Conferences, Symposia, Invited Presentations

(Forthcoming) Upload: The Impulse to Recreate Contemporary Artworks and their Circulation in the Digital Sphere, Universities Art Association of Canada (UAAC) National Conference (2014)

Amateur artists and artist-professionals recreate and upload intermedial artworks by visual artists Bas Jan Ader,...


Point and Shoot: The Ethics of Tourist Photography, Grimsby Art Gallery (2014)

Matthew's current research addresses the ethics of spectatorship in contemporary art and visual culture. His...



Bill Burns: Dogs and Boats and Airplanes, BRAFFTV Film & Media International Conference (2013)

Bill Burns's recent series "Dogs and Boats and Airplanes" represents a profound immersion in the...


Us and Them: Jacques Rancière and the ‘Ethical Turn’ in Autobiographical Photography, Culture, Policy, Urban Space and the City, Department of Media and Information Technologies, Western University (2012)

Larry Clark’s Tulsa and Nan Goldin’s The Ballad of Sexual Dependency share a close conceptual...


Larry Clark and Nan Goldin: Towards Structuring the Community of the Excluded in Autobiographical Photography, Underhill Graduate Student Colloquium, Carleton University (2012)

In the chapter “The Ethical Turn of Aesthetics and Politics” from Jacques Rancière’s book Dissensus:...


Other Writings


Relational Viewing: Affect, Trauma and the Viewer in Contemporary Autobiographical Art, Western Libraries (2012)

This dissertation examines the communicative relationship between contemporary autobiographical art and the viewer. By analyzing...



Roadside Markers of Loss, The Silo (thesilo.ca) (2012)

Indeed, the prevalence of roadside memorials has increased significantly over the past several decades and...



Daniel Johnston and the "Dead Dog's Eyeball", The Silo (thesilo.ca) (2012)

Daniel Johnston is not a secret anymore. In 2005 director Jeff Feuerzeig released the Sundance...


Unpublished Papers

On the Ethics of Curating Autobiographical Art (2010)

Autobiographical art, as a mode for recollection and self-discovery in the viewer, is a fundamental...


Richard Billingham’s 'Ray’s a Laugh,' Neoliberalism and the Manufacturing Class Transition in England (2009)

With 'Ray's a Laugh,' Richard Billingham arrests a moment of the mass manufacturing class’s evolution...


Larry Clark: The Revolution of 'Tulsa' and its Dissolution of the 'American Dream' (2008)

It is the objective of this essay to elucidate some of the more common influences...


Psychotherapy and the Photographic Camera in Confessional Art: The Case of Nan Goldin’s Self-Portraiture (2008)

In examining five painful images from Nan Goldin’s narrative of post-battering self-portraiture, I probe the...