ixia: public art think tank

ixia has taken over the ownership and management of Public Art Online from Arts Council England. The design and content of the website are currently being reviewed.

Making Waves

Biography: Ray Smith

Ray Smith was born in London in 1949 and educated at Southend High School and Trinity Hall Cambridge.

He has had solo exhibitions at Garage Art Ltd.(1974) and the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London (1980), the Arnolfini Gallery in Bristol (1975), the Ikon Gallery in Birmingham (1980), the Mostyn Gallery in Llandudno (1980), the John Hansard Gallery in Southampton (1982), the Spacex Gallery in Exeter (1987), the South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell (1988) and the Winchester Gallery (1990). His most recent solo exhibition was at the Barbican Arts Centre in London (1997) where he showed sixty new paintings.

He has shown widely in group exhibitions in Britain and abroad. In Britain, he participated in the Tolly Cobbold Eastern Arts Fourth National exhibition (1983-84), the 'As of Now' show in Liverpool (1983-4), the British Art Show (1983-4), the Scottish Arts Council 'One City a Patron' exhibition (1985), the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 15 (1987) and 16 (1989). His 'Red Army' sculpture was a feature of the 1990 National Garden Festival in Gateshead and has recently been installed at Kentuck Knob in Pennsylvania. He represented Britain at the Xlleme Paris Biennale and the 2nd International Drawings Triennale in Nuremberg. His work was featured in the recent exhibition 'Mountain' at the Wolverhampton Art Gallery (1999).

Since 1990, he has worked to commission on a wide range of projects. In 1990, he made a series of sculptures for the Oxfordshire County Council Museum Service. He also created 'Signal Gantry', a freestanding painted metal sculpture for Tesco and a series of laser-cut metal sculptures for Wokingham District Council. In addition, he collaborated with schoolchildren from Bracknell on a marble and terrazzo floor sculpture for the Bracknell Forest Borough Council.

In 1991, he created a large-scale ceramic tile painting through three floors at St. Mary's Hospital on the Isle of Wight and a mosaic artwork on the walls of an underpass in High Wycombe.

In 1992, he made 'Chain Reaction', a twelve metre high freestanding painted metal sculpture for Milton Keynes Development Corporation and a lighting artwork 'Inside Out', at the Royal Pier for the Bournemouth International Festival. In 1992 he also began a long association with Teignbridge District Council on work which has included 'per cent for art' projects for the Dawlish Leisure Centre and for a supermarket in Teignmouth where he was also responsible for the art aspects of a town centre refurbishment - the Teignmouth Triangles (1994-5).

In 1993 he made 'Face to Face', a painted metal sculpture for the City of Birmingham. He painted a series of ceramic tile panels for the Somerset County Council and made a stainless steel, painted metal and stone sculpture in Greys for the Thurrock Borough Council. He also made a large sculpture 'Standing Stones', comprising metal figure sculptures in granite blocks for J. Sainsbury plc in Exeter.

In 1994 he made bollards, grilles signage and an aqua-jet cut floor for a community project for the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham in Shepherds Bush. He also worked with sick children at the Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton on a sixty metre corridor refurbishment for the children's unit. He made a wall piece in laser-cut metal, stone and wood for the Royal Sussex County Hospital and in addition, a major gateway' sculpture, 'Out of the Earth', in Woodkirk Yorkstone and painted metal at the Quarry Hill site for Leeds City Council.

During 1995 he painted a series of ceramic tile panels for the Dorset County Council and was consultant artist on the Exmouth Estuaryside Scheme. During 1995, he won an open competition in Europe for the Dover Public Art Commission. This resulted in an award-winning Portland stone and Kirkstone sculpture 'On the Crest of a Wave' which was installed in January 1996.

In 1996 he made a stainless steel work, 'Transmitter', for Cardiff Bay Art Trust in Penarth Haven. He also completed a large-scale planting project, 'Autumn Leaves - Summer '96', in County Durham. In 1997 he completed a hand-painted laminate installation 'One Way and Another' for Musgrove Park Hospital in Taunton and a suspended sculpture and series of artworks at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.

During 1998, Ray Smith won an open competition for a sculpture by the Thames at Esher along the Sustrans cycle network and a limited competition for a landmark sculpture for MEPC (UK) at Chineham Business Park in Basingstoke. He also completed a series of commissioned paintings for Ernst & Young. He was appointed consultant artist for the new Bristol Royal Hospital for Sick Children from September 1998.

During 1999, he worked on a major sculpture for the Northumberland Street re-development scheme in Newcastle upon Tyne and on a town centre enhancement project in Whittlesey. In November 1999 his fibre optic lighting sculpture, 'Making Waves', a five-year National Lottery-funded project, was completed at Teignmouth in Devon.

Ray Smith is currently working on the realisation of the Bristol Hospital project, on the fabrication of his 'Eights Tree' sculpture by the Thames at Walton and on regeneration proposals for Okehampton.

Ray Smith's publications include two award-winning picture books for children and a number of books about art including 'The Artist's Handbook' (Dorling Kindersley) which has sold over a quarter of a million copies world-wide.

From 1974 to 1978 he was a part-time lecturer at the Chelsea School of Art. From 1978 to 1980, he was Fellow in Fine Art at the University of Southampton. He was appointed an artist member of the Art Working Group for the National Curriculum in 1990.

Ray Smith's awards include: a Linbury Trust Artists Award, the Deutscher Jugendbuchprels, a Major Award in the Sainsbury's 'Images for Today' competition and in the 7th Cleveland (UK) International Drawing Biennale. He was a prizewinner in the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 16 (1989-90) and received a Royal Society of Arts: Art for Architecture Award in 1993. He won the Rouse Kent Public Art Award for 1995-6. His work is represented in many public collections, including the Arts Council of Great Britain, Eastern Arts, Southern Arts, Contemporary Arts Society, Contemporary Arts Society of Wales, the Linbury Trust, Stadt Nurnberg, Manchester City Art Gallery, City Art Gallery Southampton, the University of Southampton and the Cleveland County Museum.

The artist's website is at www.raysmithartist.com