Blu Smith's 'The Shape of Things to Come': A Seamless Integration of Figuration and Abstraction

13 April, 2023 3 min read

Blu Smith Artist

Blu Smith's latest exhibition, "The Shape of Things to Come," marks a pivotal moment in his artistic journey, reflecting his periodic creative renewal every 7-8 years. As a Canadian artist, Smith is known for using vibrant colours and textures. With this exhibition, he merges figuration and abstraction into a seamless integration that maintains his signature style while pushing the boundaries of his art. Smith says, "Through my paintings, I aim to create a space where viewers can connect with their emotions and experiences. Each completed piece bridges my world and theirs, fostering an understanding that transcends the surface. 'The Shape of Things to Come' conveys my innovative approach to breaking down barriers between styles and maintaining my signature style while pushing forward into the future."

As a long-standing staple of Canadian contemporary art for 48 years, the West End Gallery is honoured to host Blu Smith's new exhibition. Smith's respect for our experience and knowledge of the Canadian art world is reflected in his choice to launch this new series exclusively with us. The West End Gallery also has an award-winning website that reaches a global audience. Smith states, "I am thrilled to showcase my latest collection with the West End Gallery. Their reputation in the Canadian art world is unparalleled, and their dedication to promoting Canadian artists is commendable. I couldn't think of a better place to debut my new series."

One of the standout pieces in the exhibition is "Porter." This painting perfectly exemplifies Smith's fusion of figuration and abstraction. The figure in the painting is represented loosely and gesturally, but the colours and textures surrounding him give a sense of depth and emotion. The background transitions from light blue tones on the left to bold splashes of colour on the right. The painting is a true testament to Smith's ability to create a sense of movement and emotion within his work.

Another remarkable painting in the exhibition is "Multiples." This painting is a massive 72"x66" mixed media work that showcases Smith's unique ability to layer oil over acrylic, creating a distinctive texture on the canvas. The tonal background, with sky blue and purple liquid wash shades, transforms from light to dark brown and black at the bottom edge. In the foreground, a figure of a running boy is surrounded by raised sections of mixed media in navy, teal blue, and purple. Look closer, and you'll see an echo of himself passing through the environment. Deep red strokes add structure to the composition.


"Tattoo" is a stunning example of Smith's use of colour to create a sense of depth and emotion. This painting features a figure with a colourful tattoo on his back, surrounded by an abstract landscape of blues, greens, and purples. Smith's use of thick, impasto layers of paint creates a sense of texture and movement in the piece, drawing the viewer's eye around the canvas.

"The Scarf" is a beautiful and intimate painting that depicts a figure with a scarf draped over his shoulder. The figure is surrounded by layers of abstract colour that seem to flow around him. The use of vibrant colours and textures creates a sense of movement and emotion in the painting.

In addition to these pieces, the exhibition features a selection of works on paper, showcasing Smith's versatility and expanding the visual narrative he presents. Smith's innovative approach breaks down barriers between styles, creating a unique and captivating experience for viewers.

Blu Smith's "The Shape of Things to Come" is a testament to his ability to merge figuration and abstraction seamlessly. Through his vibrant colours, textures, and layering techniques, he creates an emotional and immersive experience for viewers. Take advantage of the opportunity to witness the future of art with Blu Smith's latest collection, on display exclusively at the West End Gallery.


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