The first encounter with Dillwyn was rather cold and a touch smelly. The London curator Gil Hedley had introduced me to his work and our common studio visit was scheduled on a chilly January morning. To make the visit a little cozier Dillwyn used some fire heaters to warm up his studio, yet fully smoked out the place. For us to be able to see the art, all doors and windows had to be opened. Despite the freezing temperatures I right away warmed to Dillwyn’s colour sensibility and creative impulse. You rarely meet artists where the inspiration to make art is such purely and strongly pursued intuition. Dillwyn’s greatest gift though is to imbue colour with spiritual energy and vice versa.
Coloured fabric has already played an important part in Dillwyn Smith’s earlier pieces next to stitched canvases or paintings made with pigment or oil. Currently his large scale, abstract paintings develop exclusively from coloured strips of fabric that are stitched to vertical or horizontal compositions.
Always a skilled and experimenting painter, Smith has, for a quite a few years now, been almost fully dedicating himself to colour and its metaphysical values. From essences of pigments that he sprays and saturates into fabric or canvas to purely hand and pre-dyed fabrics. His paintings of homogeneous colour compositions recollect the colour fields of Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko. Yet his works are also based on form and a special dedication to materiality and the texture of sensual surfaces. Even though Smith mainly uses straight lines and rectangular shapes, his compositions are neither geometrical nor formal, they seem on the contrary rather organic and dynamic. The assemblies of cloth panels recall rag rugs with stitches that stretch over the surface like scars or cracks in mirrors or walls.
In harmony with the organic feel, do Smith’s works emanate a warm and stimulating colour palette. The luminance and translucency of the reds, blues and yellows he employs, and even the more muted tones, communicate and contrast with each other, and emphasize the importance of light in Smith’s oeuvre. Light that moves across the surface, brings the colours to life and expands the artwork beyond itself and further. Seams are laid bare, semi-transparent fabrics are mixed in and give apertures to the image carrier and the layers beneath. Smith’s working method is immediate and always an expression of his sensibility to material.
From 2013 until 2015 Dillwyn Smith has been Artist in Residence at the Queen Square Brain Bank (QSBB) (UCL), creating a new body of work entitled Silvering the Cerebrum. He won such prestigious awards like the Barclays Young Artist Award and the Bryan Robertson Trust Award.
Exhibitions at the gallery:
Madeleine, 2019 (Group Show with Michael Roberts, Andrey Tarkovsky, Faisal Abdu'Allah, Katie Pratt, Melanie Manchot,Paul Tecklenberg, Prunella Clough, Robin Tarbet, Scott Robertson, Simon Callery)
The Color and the Shape, 2017 (group show with Isabel Albrecht, James Brooks, Caroline Kryzecki and Karim Noureldin)
Dirty Linen, 2014 (solo show)
kaleidoscope: re-shuffle, 2014 (group show with Sarah Bridgland, Pius Fox, Francesco Pessina and Johannes von Stumm)
Turning Poison into Medicine I
Nylons, dishdasha material, stretcher
130 x 97 cm
Turning Poison into Medicine III
Nylons, dishdasha material, shou sugi ban stretcher
183 x 114 cm
Turning Poison into Medicine IV
Nylons, shou sugi ban stretcher
110x 89 cm
The Perceiver of World Sounds
Nylons, dishdasha fabric and stretcher
214 x 214 cm