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David Brian Smith

November 16, 2012

Yesterday I went to the exhibition of paintings by David Brian Smith. I have to acknowledge a link here, David is my son.  I will try to be as unbiased as I can and to add something to the story of what, for me, was a really enjoyable display of beautifully crafted paintings

There are two subjects for the six paintings – a shepherd and his sheep and a man sitting on top of a termite hill. Because the shepherd paintings have become something of David’s trademark, these are what people are most familiar with. There are three ‘shepherd’ paintings and two are with this theme.

Image

There is something about the angst indicated by the stance of the shepherd which is immediately relatable, it hits us in our heart and is rivetting. We look at the fall of the coat, how the shoulders droop against the cold and rain, how the dog looks at the shepherd in admiration and how the sheep  trust both man and dog  as they surround them. These are paintings full of emotion which I believe have greater depth because David grew up on a sheep farm. He knows sheep and he knows the highs and mainly lows of keeping them. So when David put himself as the shepherd  in this Image

painting entitled ‘My soul hath them in remembrance and is humbled in me’ (appropriately from Lamentations) I see ‘them’ as the real shepherds and in this painting David is an actor. The  reflective pose is Remembrance Sunday rather than Ypres. That coat does not look as though it would protect from too much weather but don’t be fooled by this or the coloured sheep and more upbeat pose. This is a stage set as carefully crafted as the ‘real’ shepherd painting. The sting in the tale is the text ‘Is your world really that sweet?’ In a world increasingly detached from life’s harsh realities, it is a challenge we need  to bring us back to the title ‘My soul hath them in my remembrance and is humbled in me.’

Completely different  are three paintings of a man sitting on top of a termite hill

Image Englishman seemed to love being photographed sitting at the top of strange places and this is one of the daftest places one can imagine. Although the men’s expressions are quite deadpan these pictures made me  smile and  engaged me with the vibrancy of colour and texture. Beautiful, simply beautiful!

The exhibition is at Carl Freedman’s Gallery at 29, Charlotte Road, London and closes tomorrow, the 17th November.

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One Comment
  1. Jenny permalink

    Hi,i wondered if you could shed any light on the very first painting.We have the original photograph of the very same painting of the shepard and his dog.I was wondering what photo etc your son copied it from..and if he knows any history of where it originates from..

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