Nicholas Metivier Gallery

Toronto, Ontario, Canada



Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition with Montreal-based painter, Michael Smith. The exhibition opens on May 30 and will be on view through June 22 with a reception for the artist on Thursday, May 30 from 6– 8 PM. This will be Smith’s fourth solo exhibition at the gallery.

In his most recent paintings, Smith investigates a wide range of mark marking to create his highly abstracted landscapes and seascapes. Several of the works in this exhibition are large-scale and depict what may appear to be a magnified view of a forest floor. The specificity of nature however is subjective as the paint refuses to fully define trees or foliage and the image is left in a constant state of flux. While several of the works are similar in theme, each painting has a distinct temperament depending on Smith’s use of colour and texture.

For Smith it is paramount that the paint medium speaks for the subject rather than making a completely referential image. It is the balance Smith achieves between abstraction and representation that draws the viewer into the work and engages them for long periods of time. Smith’s process is physical, layering the paint in a thick and energetic style. He describes his brushstrokes as “travel gestures” almost always applied on the diagonal to express either a point of arrival or a point of departure.

In addition to large, impasto-style acrylic paintings, Smith presents a series of small oil on panel seascapes. Working on several paintings at once, Smith examines light and the movement of paint over the course of a sunset. While the works are reminiscent of atmospheric sea paintings by JMW Turner, one of Smith’s earliest and perhaps most important influences, Smith’s saturated hues and emphasis on the fugitive nature of paint creates abstraction and transports his work into a contemporary dialogue.

Smith was born in Derby, England and moved to Canada in 1978 where he completed his MFA at Concordia University in Montreal. His work is represented across the country and is in numerous collections including Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Musée des beaux-arts de Montréal, Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery and The Canada Council Art Bank.