After Smith left the Royal College of Art in 1959 he lived in New York for two years. He produced abstract paintings which drew on British and American advertising, popular culture and consumer packaging. Experimenting with different ways of presenting the medium of painting, Smith created three-dimensional works, such as Slot Machine. Smith said he wanted to keep as close to the feeling or ‘ethos’ of objects as possible: ‘An awareness of the product is necessary to read the painting. Is it a pill or a boulder? A realisation that it could be both alters the spectator’s reading of the painting.’
Gallery label, September 2018
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