18 October to 30 October 2010
LOCAL ARTIST MIKE SMITH
RETURNS TO NEW BREWERY ARTS
Known as ‘The basket maker at Brewery Arts’, and recognised for over 20 years by many people in Cirencester and the local area, Mike Smith makes a return visit this month to New Brewery Arts with his paintings.
Mike began painting full time when he retired from basket making some twelve years ago. Since then Mike has devoted himself entirely to painting, showing work to acclaim in Bath, London and a number of galleries in America. This is his first solo show in Cirencester, so where better that at the Pop-in Gallery at New Brewery Arts.
Mike’s paintings can be described a ‘photo-realism’ although the classical painters such as Lord Leighton, Godward and Alma-Tadema who Mike admires, would have claimed their paintings, whilst romantic, just showed the world as it really was. It is only with the advent of technology that such realism appears to be the solely prerogative of photography!
Much contemporary painting has moved away from realistic portrayal of the human figure, interior scenes or even landscape. For those who feel disconnected from contemporary abstracted images and interpretation, Mike Smith’s work will amaze and delight. We are, these days, so unfamiliar with realistic painting that one has to look twice, and then at close quarters, to confirm that Mike’s pictures are indeed painted with oil on canvas rather than being photographs. However Mike comments “I hope my paintings go beyond the ‘photographic’, as the qualities of the paint and its ability to create a reality are a great fascination to me.
With intricate brushwork and concentrated attention to fine detail Mike describes the subtleties of fine silks and rich velvet fabrics that clothe and flow around relaxing and reclining female forms. Mike explains “the female body as a classical form is capable of endless interpretations. I seek to celebrate the form, not to idolise or sensationalise in any way.
An extraordinary vitality in the interpretation of his subjects means Mike Smith’s talent lends itself directly to portraiture and examples of this side of his work are included in the exhibition. Prints of Mike’s paintings are available alongside original paintings.
The exhibition is open 10am - 5pm at The Pop-up Gallery, New Brewery Arts from Monday 18th October until Saturday 30th.