Kimber Smith — Œuvres sur papier, 1957 — 1975
Œuvres sur papier, 1957 — 1975
Past: January 21 → March 5, 2016
Galerie Jean Fournier is presenting its first solo exhibition of the work of Kimber Smith: twenty drawings chosen in collaboration with American artist Joe Fyfe.
An “artist’s artist”, Kimber Smith was one of those fringe figures much appreciated by Jean Fournier, art dealer in Paris from 1956 to 2006. Along with Shirley Jaffe and Sam Francis, he was among the American artists living in Paris in the 1950s. Galerie Fournier went on to become a legendary venue for American painters in France and this year, a decade after its founder’s death, it is presenting this first one man show; there were none at the gallery during the artist’s lifetime. The two men met in 1958, when Fournier was director of the Galerie Kléber, and he would include Smith’s work in group exhibitions up until the 1990s.
The exhibition comprises twenty works on paper from between 1957–1975 and covers the different periods and stages of Smith’s drawing and painting. There emanates from these works a formal and gestural freedom accompanied by rapidity of composition and execution. Smith deploys a concentrated vocabulary of basic shapes like diamonds, circles, zigzags and rectangles, arranging them on the paper in deceptively simple ways. The same is true of his use of colour: the palette is limited and the paint comes straight from the tube. Here gesture is quick, effective and sometimes reinforced by such “ordinary” media as the marker and the spraypak.
A distinctive feature of the Smith oeuvre is an especially close attention to composition, achieved by a blend of different styles and treatments. The “KS” signature is an important element here: written in pencil, it is often inordinately large and sometimes set in the middle of the work. Direct and highly expressive, it gives the impression of being an essential but at the same time ambiguous part of the composition: is it a functional signature? Or a formal sign?
Smith’s oeuvre is all about fragility and balance. As much influenced by Tintoretto, Fra Angelico and Cimabue as by aspects of his everyday life — one of his sons playing the piano, a cathedral visited during a summer in Brittany — these pictures speak of a dialogue between reality and the imaginary, between memories and interpretations.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue containing essays by Joe Fyfe and Eric Suchère, together with a detailed biography.
Kimber Smith — Oeuvres sur papier, 1957 — 1975 Opening Thursday, January 21, 2016 6 PM → 8:30 PM