Ray Smith (American, b.1959) Born in Brownsville, TX, and raised in Central Mexico. Smith emerged in the 1980s, and continues to produce exuberant paintings and sculptures characterized by an inimitable style and subject matter that reflect his bi-cultural American and Mexican heritage. Contorted and morphed figures recur throughout his work, in a hybrid that draws from his early studies of fresco painting with traditional practitioners in Mexico, and an indebtedness to Picasso, the Surrealists, and the politically daring Mexican muralists. Through these varied beings, Smith reflects upon the complexities and absurdities of society, family, politics, culture, war, and the human condition itself, framed by birth and death.
The artist has held more than 50 exhibitions around the world during the last two decades, mainly in the United States and Mexico, but also in Japan, Europe, and South America. He participated in the 1989 edition of the Whitney Biennial in New York City. Smith exhibited at the First Triennial of Drawings at the Joan Miró Foundation in Barcelona, Spain, and took part in the group exhibition called Latin American Artists of the 20th Century, which traveled from Seville, Spain, to the Musée National d’Art Moderne at the Pompidou Center in Paris, the Kunsthalle in Cologne, Germany, and The Museum of Modern Art in New York City. Smith’s paintings are in the collections of the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum of Art, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, the Wurth Museum in Kunzelman, Germany, the Centro Cultural de Arte Contemporaneo in Mexico City, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, amongst others. He currently splits his time between New York and Cuernavaca in Mexico.