Accumulation of Disorder

The very last edition of the series, the dimensions per sculpture are noted below: Small Malay Girl: 37.8 x 26 x 25 inches: 96 x 66 x 64 cm, per head (10) Small Malay Girl with Lines: 37.8 x 26 x 25 inches: 96 x 66 x 64 cm, per head (5) , Submerge: 32.6 x 13.7 x 19.7 inches: 83 x 35 x 50 cm, per head (6) Crackhead: 30.31 x 13 x 15.7 inches: 77 x 33 x 40 cm, per head (7)
Broken Submerge: 32.6 x 13.7 x 19.7 inches: 83 x 35 x 50 cm, per head (12)

Lionel Smit’s experimental exploration of the surface as medium has resulted in a recent fusion of expressive painting onto sculpture as-canvas. This fusion of technique allows the bold brush strokes, colour and surface rendering function as markers within the construction of expressive identity in his work, inherent within his oeuvre. The exhibition by Lionel Smit, entitled Accumulation of Disorder, coincides with the timing of the so-called end of the earth, predicted by the Mayan calendar for December 2012. Confronted by an overwhelming array of 70+ identity-deprived heads upon entering the University of Stellenbosch (US) Gallery, all of them with dead-pan stares and a stoic air, the mob of heads represents that point of disorder - summoning a chilling scene akin to that of Smit’s vision leading up to the end of time. Through Smit’s portrayal of this overwhelming condition of disaster, he attempts to confront the discrepancies of the state of the world and time we live in, dominated by politics, consumerism, and disorder.

Written by Jayne Crawshay-Hall

About Lionel Smit

In his expressive paintings, prints, and sculptures, Lionel Smit focuses on the residents of Cape Town, South Africa, in portraits at once representational and abstract. The members, most often the women, of the ethnic Cape Malay community serve as especially frequent subjects. He cites Francis Bacon, Andy Warhol, and Lucian Freud as influences, for their use, in his words, of “the human portrait to create something extraordinary.” Often working at monumental scale, Smit, in his own paintings, combines gestural brushstrokes, dripping and splattered paint, and lush patches of color with a naturalistic rendering of the heads and faces of his many subjects. His sculptures, too, evince this blend of naturalism and abstraction, with their heavily modeled, sometimes fragmentary, surfaces. For Smit, this form of portraiture gets beneath the skin to reveal the multifaceted nature of his human subjects.

South African, b. 1982

Solo Shows on Artsy

2015
ORIGINS, Rook & Raven, London
2014
Cumulus, Rook & Raven, London
2012
Lionel Smit - Strata, Rook & Raven, London