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KIMBER SMITH

Kimber Smith

Cheim & Read presents Kimber Smith, Paintings: 1965 – 1980, the gallery’s first exhibition with the artist, and his first exhibition in the US since 2011. 

Smith ​had his first exhibition at The New Gallery, New York, in 1951, where his work was paired with Joan Mitchell’s. The same gallery gave him his first solo only three years later. Smith’s effortless style anticipates the work of influential artists such as Mary Heilmann, Richard Aldrich, and Joe Bradley.

The disarming sparseness of his works is a result of the artist's emancipation from traditional formal concerns. Smith’s canvases seem to distill art-making to its essentials, reconstructing the painted image from scratch.

Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
M.G.S. 1974
Acrylic on canvas
65 1/2 x 53 inches
166.4 x 134.6 centimeters

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Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
TILT 1980
Acrylic on canvas
68 x 64 inches
172.7 x 162.6 centimeters

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Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
EGYPTIAN ROSE GARDEN 1976
Acrylic on canvas
68 x 65 inches
172.7 x 165.1 centimeters

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Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
ZDAY 1979
Acrylic on canvas
64 x 67 1/2 inches
162.6 x 171.5 centimeters

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Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
UNTITLED 1966-67
Gouache on paper
26 x 19 1/4 inches
66 x 48.9 centimeters

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Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
UNTITLED  1972
Gouache on paper 
26 x 19 inches
66 x 48.3 centimeters
CR# KS.40296

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Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
UNTITLED  1965
Gouache on paper
26 x 19 inches
66 x 48.3 centimeters

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Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
UNTITLED 1973
Gouache on paper
24 x 18 inches
61 x 45.7 centimeters

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2 column Text or Image

ARTFORUM

Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
DAY CIRCLE BLUE 1967
Acrylic on canvas
96 x 66 inches
243.8 x 167.6 centimeters

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Smith taught in Ohio at the Dayton Art Institute, and the museum presented a solo exhibition of his work in 1965. Kimber Smith moved back to New York in 1966 and earned significant critical acclaim; he exhibited his work at a number of galleries, including André Emmerich, and received a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1971.

A young Hal Foster, in a review that appeared in the April 1979 issue of ARTFORUM, describes Smith’s imagery as “fluent forms of color on unprimed ground, much of the canvas bare,” in which the “motifs sustain a delightful, erotic play.” But for all its freedom and lyricism, Smith’s paintings also retain, as Joseph Masheck puts it in the December 1973 issue of ARTFORUM, “a stubborn edge.”

In his widely influential essay, “Provisional Painting,” published in May 2009 in Art in America, Raphael Rubinstein cited Smith, alongside Joan Miró and Martin Barré, as one of the precursors to a new approach to painting, a discipline Rubenstein suggests is, “in part, a struggle with a medium that can seem too invested in permanence and virtuosity.” Rubinstein states that Smith’s “stylistic fusion” anticipates Mary Heilmann’s “informal formalism, … splash[ing] Matissean insouciance over the serious-minded legacy of Abstract Expressionism.”

After Smith’s death in 1981, his work was exhibited posthumously at the Carnegie International, Pittsburgh, PA (1985); the American Center, Paris (1985, 1988); Vitalita Nell’Arte, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, which traveled to Palazzo Grassi, Venice, and Kunsthalle, Recklinghausen, Germany (1986). A retrospective exhibition was held at Kunstmuseum Winterthur, Winterthur, Switzerland (2004), which traveled to the Josef Albers Museum, Bottrop, Germany (2004-2005).

Art in America

Kimber Smith (1922 - 1981)
KUP'S WHITE DIAMOND 1970
Acrylic on canvas
94 x 65 1/4 inches
238.8 x 165.7 centimeters

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Video

A walkthrough of the exhibition with the artist Joe Fyfe narrating.

Downloadable Items

Kimber Smith in ARTFORUM
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