Ray Smith emerged in the NY art scene in the 1980s, and has been pursuing an inclusive, collaborative approach to art-making ever since, producing exuberant paintings and sculptures characterized by a blend of magical realism, Surrealism, and Modernism. His work also reflects the influences of early studies of fresco painting with traditional practitioners in Mexico and the politically daring Mexican muralists. Contorted and morphed human figures recur throughout his work, as do images of anthropomorphized animals and fantastical, part-human, part-animal hybrid beasts. Through these varied beings, as well as images of distorted timepieces, 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. His work is also a part of international collections such as 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, and his family’s ranch on the South Texas/Mexico border.