Victoria Cooper+Doug Spowart Blog

IAN SMITH: “On and Off the Road” in Toowoomba Regional Gallery

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On Sunday January 8, Ian Smith presented an artist’s talk to accompany his exhibition On and Off The Road, a travelling exhibition from the Gold Coast Art Gallery, at the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery. Attended by around 60 local and visiting artists from the McGregor Summer Schools, Smith spoke about his life and work. The follow are a few comments and observations inspired by the man and his talk.

Ian Smith is like the Australian version of one of those characters straight out of Jack Kerouac’s 1950’s trans-American crossing, On the Road. He is the kind of person who would give you a lift as a hitch-hiker and keep you amused with every kind of story you can imagine, embellished with obtuse observations of life, art and doin’ what you need to. And if the narrative about Smith can stretch that far, his art is as big and crammed full of life and insightful opinion. Just by standing before it you can have a conversation with it where it tells you its story and you will not get a word in yourself.

Smith was born a brought up in Cairns. He didn’t ‘discover and fall in love’ with north Queensland as so many artists have. He is a self-confessed ‘Tropicale snob’ and wears his regional slant on things with all the swagger of a true regional artist. Smith is a figurative painter but somehow landscape gets in the way, although these landscapes have figures and life-signs of humanity.

VIEW THE ALEX CHOMICZ VIDEO of the exhibition and the artist: Ian Smith Paintings On and Off the Road


Ian Smith presenting an artist's talk @ the Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery 8 Jan 2012

Ian Smith and crowd @ Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery

Watching the Alex Chomicz video "Ian Smith Paintings On and Off the Road"

Ian and I had some connections from the past – He exhibited in my Gallery (Imagery Gallery) in Brisbane in the 1980s and we shared teaching experiences at the Queensland College of Art in the 1970s and friendship with North Queensland photographer Glen O’Malley. So he came over home to my garden for a few beers (Ian) and coffees (Vicky and I) and a chat.

Ian Smith talking

An animated Ian Smith makes his point!

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