NICHOLAS METIVIER GALLERY, 190 Richmond Street East, Toronto, ON   M5A 1P1

Press Release

Nicholas Metivier Gallery is pleased to announce Underland, an exhibition of new paintings by Michael Smith. The exhibition will open on March 4th and run until March 27th. This is Smith’s seventh solo exhibition at the gallery.

“A profound memory doesn’t have to be sharp. It doesn’t always have clear edges. Sometimes it’s a memory that seems to almost sink underwater. It has a kind of undertow to it. So, when I think of memory as a driving force in my paintings, I don’t think of it as a very descriptive device but as something that has incredible sound and weight to it. It’s something that dwells within you for a long, long time.”

– Michael Smith

Montreal-based painter Michael Smith is highly regarded for his fluid and impasto surfaces as well as his ability to strike a poetic balance between representation and abstraction. Inspired by art history as well as historical and current events, Smith pulls from various sources to create his energetic landscapes and seascapes. The work of J.M.W. Turner, Jean Paul Riopelle and Joan Mitchell continually shape Smith’s understanding of landscape painting while focused projects, such as the Franklin Expedition of 1845, ignite his imagination and bring the past into the present.

Smith’s most recent series began following a trip to France where he visited ancient cave sites that he had first seen in the 1970s. Unable to take photographs, Smith created watercolours and ultimately paintings that evoke the sublime experience of being underground. Smith likened the experience to being inside a cathedral which he expresses in paint with loosely depicted archways and receding tunnels. Smith’s ongoing fascination with the intersection of landscape and time is fully realized in these works. Their intense textures and subtle glazes describe a place that is in perpetual motion.