Exhibitions List_Feature1_Destructure.jpg


Solo Exhibition, Everard Read, London, 2019




10 MARCH - 9 JUNE 2019

The first extensive survey of Lionel Smit's solo exhibition opens at the Everard Read gallery on 10th March.

In the DESTRUCTURE exhibition's body of work, Smit continues to explore themes of identity through portraiture on canvas and bronze sculptures. For the artist, the human face offers an endless source of study and his work accentuates facial characteristics through bold swathes of colour and brush techniques, highly-textured bronzes and vivid patinas.

Smit’s portraits reflect the mixed heritage of the Western Cape communities in which he lives and works and which have become central to his exploration of identity. The subjects in his portraits exude strength and dignity; some have a meditative quality while others evoke a sense of vulnerability conveyed by the sitter’s averted gaze or melancholy expression.

Insurgency, 2019, Oil & Silkscreen on Linen, 90x90cm

Insurgency, 2019, Oil & Silkscreen on Linen, 90x90cm

Emerging Facets, 2019, Oil & Silkscreen on Linen, 60x60cm

Emerging Facets, 2019, Oil & Silkscreen on Linen, 60x60cm

The exhibition reveals many unseen aspects of this contemporary phenomenon, examining the reality of what happens in the gaze, and inviting the audience to reflect on the portrait. Smit’s background as a student of faces draws attention to the questions of who we are as people and how we identify ourselves to affect the way we communicate in a non- verbal way.

Smit says: “I was coming at it mostly from my perspective as a portraitist but I quickly realised there were many areas it touched upon in our individual psyche, in our wider culture and perceptions about appearance and beauty”.

Destructure explores the processes involved in layering the canvas, what it tells us about an individual's self-image, perceived cultural ideals of identity, and the psychology behind an endless search for our genetic disposition.

Multiple essays were written in conjunction with this exhibition. Read them here.

Everard Read London presents SA artist, Lionel Smit by Caryn Edwards


Lionel Smit_Destructure_Everard Read_London_201938.jpg

Everard Read London

Everard Read London is part of the Everard Read I CIRCA art galleries in South Africa. Established in 1913, Everard Read is Africa’s oldest commercial art gallery. Today we have art galleries in Johannesburg, Cape Town, London and Franschhoek. Everard Read Gallery London is located in the heart of Chelsea and presents modern and contemporary art from South Africa and around the world. CIRCA Gallery London Ltd trading as Everard Read London.

For me, Lionel Smit’s Destructure show triggers memories as a student of art history. In lectures we analysed Leonardo da Vinci’s anatomical drawings, Rembrandt’s masterpiece of a seventeenth century anatomy lesson in Amsterdam and Barbara Hepworth’s beautiful images of surgeons at work during the birth of the National Health Service.

Smit’s representations of surgery continue a tradition and visual language developed over many centuries of the interaction between artist and surgeon.

Gina Grech-Cumbo – Director, Everard Read London

For further information https://www.everardlondon.com/exhibition/51/