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Blu Smith, "Fractured," 2011, acrylic on canvas, 48" x 48".
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Blu Smith, "Soaring," 2012, acrylic on canvas, 48" x 72".
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Blu Smith, "Mason's Tear," 2012, acrylic on canvas, 60" x 60".
Webster Galleries — $3,000 to $7,000
By Maureen Latta
When gallery owner John Webster sifts through abstract paintings, he knows what he’s looking for: An artist with heart. “It’s very easy to knock out an abstract work,” he says. “But it’s very difficult to paint a good abstract painting.” When Webster saw Blu Smith’s work, he sensed uniqueness, sophistication and plenty of heart. “Above all else, his work has energy.”
In the 18 months since Webster Galleries took on Smith, collectors have bought a dozen of his paintings. Smith’s large abstracts will hang in the Bow, the tallest office tower in Calgary – an achievement for an artist who once shunned abstract art. “In school, I didn’t get it and I didn’t like it,” says Smith, who began as a representational artist focused on technical skill. He turned to abstraction to loosen up and quickly found his calling. “It’s my way of expressing those things that can’t be said.”
Based in Victoria, Smith is influenced by externalities such as the early morning light. He develops themes with charcoal on paper until he’s ready to work in acrylic and oil, allowing each piece to evolve from its predecessor.
Smith, whose next show at Webster Galleries opens Sept. 21, earned his BFA from the University of Victoria. He is influenced by Abstract Expressionism as well as Canadian artists such as Jack Shadbolt and Gordon Smith.