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Clive Smith is a highly trained British painter interested in how contemporary painting can speak to modern societal issues. For two decades Smith primarily focused on portraits, both self and of figures. Much like Lucian Freud, these paintings capture the emotional density of the sitter. More recently, Smith features intricate bird’s nest that gracefully rest on ceramic plates which the artist cites as a reference to the Japanese art of Kinstugi—repairing broken pottery with lacquer mixed with powdered gold or silver to highlight the breakage—Smith is interested in how breakage and repair becomes part of decorative art history. Smith’s style blurs the lines between realism and abstraction, Fine Art and Applied Art. Smith presents an authentic presence of such subjects and beg questions about how we value the production of objects, what defines art and beauty. 

Smith lives and works in New York. In 1999, he won First Prize, BP Portrait Award, at London’s National Portrait Gallery. He has had numerous museum exhibitions that include the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK. His work is in many public collections such as in the Cleveland Museum of Art, US; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, KC, US; and the National Portrait Gallery, London, UK.  

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