LIONEL SMIT | Irreversible


reversible 2023 oil on linen 150x120cm

LIONEL SMIT | Irreversible
Mar 1 – Mar 27, 2024

LIONEL SMIT | Irreversible

1 - 27 March 2024

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Everard Read London presents an exhibition of new paintings and sculpture by celebrated South African artist, Lionel Smit.

Best known for his contemporary portraiture, Smit’s art is defined by a profound and ongoing dialogue between painting and sculpture. He grew up in an artistic milieu and his father’s sculpture studio played a central role in his childhood. Smit explains further, “I started with clay – so that’s my reference point.… And that’s the way I approach painting. I approach it like sculpture, adding pieces until the image emerges.”

In this new body of work, Smit continues to explore portraiture and themes of identity. For Smit, the human face is a boundless source of study and his work accentuates facial characteristics through bold and vital swathes of colour and brush techniques, highly-textured bronzes and vivid patinas. The subjects of his portraits exude strength and dignity; some have a meditative quality while others evoke a sense of vulnerability conveyed by the sitter’s averted gaze or contemplative expression.

Smit’s work has been the subject of numerous solo exhibitions from London to Miami, New York and Hong Kong. His work has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London receiving the Visitors' Choice - BP Portrait Award in 2013.


Photo Credit (c) Damian Griffiths