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"Richard Smith: Kite Paintings"

  • Art
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

4 out of 5 stars

A British artist who’s called New York home since 1976, Richard Smith began creating work with a Pop Art flavor but eventually veered toward abstraction. After exhibiting a series of shaped canvases for the British Pavilion at the 1970 Venice Biennale, Smith radically changed course by eliminating conventional wooden stretchers for his innovative “Kite Paintings.”

 Basically overlapping pieces of painted canvas stiffened by a ribbed structure of dowels, Smith’s “Kite Paintings” are usually dangled by strings from a hook or nail in the wall or ceiling. This succinct exhibition brings together eight examples—some made with paper, along with studies and maquettes—all made between 1975 and 1984. Smith’s Mask (1983) is the most whimsical piece, with its three irregularly configured panels covered with geometric and organic forms.

 Even more complex is Major Battle (1984). Made up of nine elements, it resembles a flag blowing in the wind, though the real action transpires as painted motifs (stripes, squares) and dynamically angled canvas supports collide. Heaving this way and that, Battle illustrates Smith’s idiosyncratic approach at its best.


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