Nuclear Backstroke
Bongi with Fragments
Jo-Anne with Power Icons
Sarah With Dream Fragments
The Arrow Head
The Shaman 3 (Itayi)
Julia (Red and Green)
Dream Builder
Arctic Circle
Starting his professional life as a respected political cartoonist in the 1960’s for the Sunday Times in Johannesburg, Richard Smith held his first solo exhibition in London in 1971 at the Arts Theatre Club. He was Standard Bank’s cartoonist of the year in 1980 and 1984, and over the past 30 years has produced works on canvas and on paper as well as he has exhibited, consistently, locally and abroad.

An artist of great originality and technical skill, he is difficult to categorise. It is his extraordinary artistic background that has allowed him to create superbly layered works. He has been producing complex artworks for nearly 50 years. Of late he has challenged his previous work and is producing some of his most exciting paintings in oil. Richard Smith is an artist’s artist, his paintings often accidental in their genesis with a stories and character appearing often over many months. He is an authentic voice where the act of painting is foremost and the form and content are secondary. Although his finished works are richly layered, he wants, in his own words, ‘the brush to spend as little time on the canvas as possible’. A fearsome self critic, paintings can sometimes take months or even years to appear, and even then they might not make the final cut. Robyn Sassen wrote of his oils ‘They’re weird and monstrous and they’re oddly compelling. Sometimes they’re constructed in a multi-faceted layout. At other times, they present themselves to you in surreal poses….there’s humour there…. it’s humour pummelled by bleakness revealing echoes of what it was that gave Smith the potency he enjoyed as a political cartoonist’.

His work has been largely exhibited in South Africa but also internationally as part of group exhibitions and as solo shows. It is also part of collections such as Rand Merchant Bank, Sasol, Sanlam, FNB, University of the Witwatersrand, University of the Free State and University of Cape Town.