It is best not to pigeon hole Stephen Smith as like many of todays visual artists his work is a hybrid of 20th century European Modern influences, recycled and restyled to make up his own contemporary language.
Smiths paintings succeed in that they are ‘totally fresh’ while simultaneously reminding the viewer of commonly used abstract motifs. His language is familiar – think of the great modern fathers like Matisse – his late cut outs, Miro – his spikiness and Clee – taking his line for a walk. Howard Hodgkins dots come to mind and so do Cornish abstractionists Terry Frost and Patrick Heron. What Smith has in common with many modernist painters is the adherence to a limited vocabulary built from line and shape and a personal colour palette which continually evolves and in Stevens case, is applied to many different projects.
Steven Smiths creative output is extraordinary. Smith is an illustrator and publisher of books, a designer of murals for interiors, a painter and installation artist. He is a teacher of illustration with corporate clients all around the globe. All these projects hang on the spine of Smiths highly polished graphic sensibility.
Unlike his illustration and design work Smiths painting emphasis is on the physical process. The canvas is ripped, chopped, folded, sewn, and layered. In each piece, drawing, collage and colour simultaneously meld to form a perfectly balanced composition.
Stephens work has presented his work internationally including; MU – Holland, Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art -UK and the Nam June Paik Centre – South Korea.