Exhibition web page

Mar 1 – Mar 26, 2017

CIRCA Cape Town is proud to present Premise, a solo presentation by Lionel Smit. The exhibition opens at the CIRCA Cape Town gallery on 1 March 2017 and concludes on 26 March 2017.


A portfolio is available upon request.


My new body of work is an exploration of process, combining various techniques that I experiment with in the studio. Challenging my ongoing fascination with the portrait, figure and identity, I approach the canvas as an equation that needs to be solved. The body becomes a vehicle through which I use colour and abstraction - communicating the emotional state of ourselves.

-      Lionel Smit


Following on from his recent exhibitions at the Diederichsen Museum in Helsinki, Finland and his subsequent exhibition at Everard Read London, Lionel Smit's exhibition Premise at CIRCA Cape Town finds Smit in a quieter, more contemplative mood.


While the human figure continues to take centre stage in his pursuit of capturing the universal spirit of humanity, the palette has shifted to almost monochromatic studies including drawings and paintings, often on bare Belgian Linen.


His drawings evidence his skills as an accomplished draughtsman and give us insight into how this feeds into his other work - almost as the creative skeleton, the 'bones' underlying the essence of all his other pursuits, in other media.


In his paintings, his interest in the tension between figuration and abstraction persists, but now instead of the forms emerging out of swathes of colour, the forms assert their presence at the forefront of each narrative, often as shadowy archetypal silhouettes that shimmer and glisten with colour of their own. As usual the paint is sumptuous and pregnant, however, the restraint in this body of work is palpable. It's as if every mark demanded to be painted and Smit with his characteristic genius with paint demonstrates his ability to make significant, critical marks, but perhaps more importantly, when not to. The result is a breathtakingly fresh and honest body of works that are best enjoyed by standing in the room with them and reveling in the paint. A collection of bronzes, hitherto unseen in Cape Town, will also be on exhibition.