Lionel Smit is one of South Africa’s most prolific and exalted artists. His artistic diversity is pursued through a variety of mediums and he is best known for his contemporary portraiture. His art is defined by a deeply rooted symbiotic relationship between sculpture and painting. Today, each of Lionel Smit’s works offers us an entry point into the variety and richness that lies beneath every face we encounter in life, whether applied in bronze or paint. The blending of techniques across genres is a display of Smit’s work in multiple media, all bearing a visible and tangible overlap.
Creating unordinary portraits of women, both representational and abstract, Lionel Smit sources his inspiration from the Cape Malay Community. Guided by influences of Francis Bacon, Lucian Freud and Andy Warhol, he combines gestural brushstrokes, splattered and dripping paint, with patches of colour applied across the heads of his subjects.
Lionel Smit was born in 1982 in Pretoria, South Africa. Smit’s work has been the subject of several solo exhibitions, his painting Kholiswa has been exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London receiving the Viewer’s Choice Award. Collections including his works vary from Standard Chartered Bank to Laurence Graff Art Collection and his painting has been featured on the cover of Christie’s Auction Catalogue.