“My initial impression of this place was that it had sprung from the terroir of my drawings.”

For the past year, Patricia Smith has been in residence at Château Beaurepaire in France’s Loire Valley. It is “château country” here (and also wine country), and the region’s rich history and architectural marvels have penetrated deeply into her work. The French have a word, “terroir”, which is often used in the context of wine production, meaning the unique composition of the soil, combined with the topography and climate of a particular area. But the term can also refer more poetically to a “sense of place”.

In an atmosphere of almost complete isolation because of the pandemic, Smith has had an immersive experience of “terroir”. In a new development in her practice, she brings a series of drawings outside to interact directly with the landscape and the architecture, and also creates hybrid works directly onto and into the terroir. Her approach is, like all her previous work, a kind of mapping, in that it traces connections between the actual and its concept, blurring the line of separation between the two.