Artist Statement

A landscape for Michael Smith is a world and a whirled. He recognizes that all his references refer to landscape and he is obsessed with those possibilities. There is no single way for his landscapes to be viewed or rendered and, as a result, the process of their realization is neither stable nor predictable. In Smith’s hands, a landscape is a repository for memory (the past) and a site for making (the present). At their core, they hold emotion, psychology and aesthetics in an inexplicable balance.
– Robert Enright

The places represented in my paintings are in a state of constant flux, transitioning between natural, industrialized and at times, war-torn landscapes. In a recent exhibition, Memory Current, at The Nicholas Metivier Gallery in Toronto, I reference the simultaneous activation of events that have taken place in the land, over a period of time. For me, the pastoral or untouched landscape is no longer relevant – large vessels float on the sea’s horizon while buildings appear destabilized by human destruction or elemental forces. These loose points of reference that are at once historical and contemporary, representational and abstract, continually inform my work. I wish to express and convey a mix of excitement and anxiety of a land, although at times bucolic, is riddled with shadows.



Since 1981 Michael Smith’s paintings have been exhibited across Canada and internationally including, the Appleton Museum, Ocala, Florida, Galerie Damasquine, Brussels, the Saidye Bronfman Centre, Montréal and The Kaohsiung Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan. His work was also exhibited at the Charles Cowles Gallery, New York.

He completed his MFA from Concordia University, Montréal in 1983.  Reviews and essays of Smith’s work have appeared in many journals and art magazines, including ARTnews, MODERN PAINTERS, Canadian Art and Border Crossings. His work was also featured in the Established Artists section of the Magenta Foundation’s 2008 book Carte Blanche v.2 Painting, a survey text on the current state of painting in Canada.

Michael Smith’s work can be found in the permanent collections of The Musée d’art contemporain de Montréal, Musée des Beaux-Arts de Montréal; Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, Owen Sound; The Beaverbrook Art Gallery, Fredericton; The Glenbow Museum, Calgary. Several of his works belong to the prestigious Canadiana Collection and can be found in the Prime Minister’s residence at 24 Sussex, Ottawa; Rideau Hall and the Citadel in Quebec City.

He is currently represented by a number of galleries across Canada, including; Art45 Montreal, Nicholas Metivier Gallery, Toronto and the Trepanier Baer Gallery, Calgary.