'The Winged Life'
The painter Kimber Smith (American 1922-1981) was a prominent member of the group of American painters and poets who later became known as the second generation Abstract Expressionists and the New York School. As with many of this generation, for instance Joan Mitchell, Shirley Jaffe or Sam Francis, Smith's mature style began developing during his formative years in Paris.
Smith was ahead of his time in his ability to consider the whole canvas with every brushstroke and his early use of large simple geometric shapes. These tendencies align him more with Color Field painters such as Kenneth Noland and Morris Louis, save one distinguishing characteristic. Smith kept a hands-on approach closer to Expressionism, using a variety of increasingly washy primary colored passages married to notational jottings with paint tubes or crayons.
Seemingly reductive, like the later group of painters who collected under the rubric Lyrical Abstraction, Smith's paintings have a deep commitment to their content, which often refer to the quotidian elements cast with almost sacred dedication, and a poeticism more in line with the Symbolists and Post-Impressionists such as Redon or Bonnard.
Smith showed in Paris and in Switzerland as well as New York with Andre Emmerich, Susan Caldwell and Robert Elkon. Major works are in the collection of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Zurich Art Museum. Smith's work has been included recently in a number of well received group exhibitions including Blue and Color Climax at Graham Gallery and Le Tableau at Cheim & Read.