Ray Smith, ‘Pinocchio’, 2016, ICI Annual Benefit & Auction 2016

“My practice is mal-practice”, Ray Smith said playfully in a recent conversation, when asked about his working approach. The artist’s quick wit and wry humor shows through in his images of appropriated art historical and popular imagery.

Pinocchio, a work from the artist’s recent series entitled AMERICAN CALENDAR, teases out the notion of the ever-shifting, ‘American Dream’. Culled from generic 1950s-60s calendar photo stock, the AMERICAN CALENDAR displays certain aspects of the ‘American way’, further distorted by the hand of the artist.

In Pinocchio, a distraught young pianist becomes a veritable phoney. Chained within an equally false frame, Smith asserts that the image, like the American dream, is no more real than what we chose to see.

Ray Smith is represented by STUX Gallery.


Image rights: Courtesy of the artist

Artist's Studio

About Ray Smith

Ray Smith emerged in the 1980s, and has been pursuing an inclusive, collaborative approach to art-making ever since, producing—often with the input of his longtime studio assistants—exuberant paintings and sculptures characterized by a blend of magical realism, Surrealism, and Modernism. His inimitable style and subject matter reflects his bi-cultural American and Mexican heritage, his early studies of fresco painting with traditional practitioners in Mexico, and an indebtedness to Picasso, the Surrealists, and the politically daring Mexican muralists. Contorted and morphed human figures recur throughout his work, as do images of dogs and other 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.

American, b. 1959, Brownsville, Texas, based in Brooklyn, New York and Cuernavaca, Mexico

Solo Shows

Stux Gallery, 
New York,
Ray Smith, Unguernica

Group Shows

New York City,