The Molesworth Gallery

Blaise Smith RHA

155mm artillery shell ~ oil on canvas ~ 20 x 40 inches ~ exhibited at The Hunt Museum, Limerick, October 2008


Blaise Smith has coined the term "real abstraction” to define the work, where the subject is organised in an abstract way but resolves at the same time into a realistic figurative image. Reacting to the argument that photography has made representational painting redundant, Smith embraces subjects 'that would make boring photographs'. By investing so much time and skill into painting something so pedestrian, so unobserved, Smith aims to force you to look again by saying in paint "see here, pay as much attention to this as I did” and in doing so elevates the subject into something worthy of consideration.

Born in 1967, Blaise Smith studied visual art NCAD and has gone on to become one of Ireland's leading figurative painters. He has had numerous solo exhibitions at The Molesworth Gallery, as well at The Hunt Museum in Limerick and Visual in Carlow. He has been selected three times for BP Portrait Exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery in London and has completed several major public commissions, among them 'Roadworks', a set of twenty four paintings depicting men and machines of Cork County Council for its centenary. In 2016, along with Vera Klute, he was awarded a landmark commission by the Royal Irish Academy, supported by Accenture, to a paint a group of leading Irish female scientists as part of the 'Women on Walls' project to redress the absence of any female portraits on the walls of the Academy. He has won many awards and was elected a full Member of the Royal Hibernian Academy in 2015. 

Schoolworks, Carlow County Council, 2012
The Kilkenny Landscape, Kilkenny County Council, 2000
Roadworks: Cork County Council Centenary Commission 1999
2004 The RHA James Adam Award, artist for future appreciation
2001 The RHA Abbey Stained Glass Studio Award
2000 The RHA Caracciolo Medal
1999 The Arnotts National Portrait Award (2nd)
1998 The RHA Fergus O'Ryan Memorial Award
1998 The Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Award
Schoolworks, Visual, Carlow, 2012
Weapons, The Hunt Museum, Limerick, 2008
The Molesworth Gallery, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2006, 2008, 2010,
The BP Portrait Award Exhibition, 2003, 2004
RHA Annual show 2014, 2004, 2003, 2002, 2001, 2000, 1998, 1997
The Crawford Open, 2000
Boyle Arts Festival, 1998, 2004
Blaise Smith, The Dolmen Gallery Limerick, 1998
The Molesworh Gallery, various publications 2001 - 2012
New European Artist, Edited by Edward Lucey Smith, Bruce Arnold et al.
Published by Annual Development, Amsterdam, 2001
A buyer's guide to Irish art, Editor Meg Walker, Ashville Media Group 2002

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