Robin Smith

Robin is a painter who originally developed intricate, abstract paintings with interlocking geometric and organic coloured forms. Over the last few years Robin has focused on portraiture created out of bold abstract shapes, predominantly creating female portraits. Robin applies his intuitive painterly techniques by building up form and colour to shape the figure and background. Working on canvas and board, Robin combines acrylic, emulsion, pen and soft pastels to build intense, colour rich layers. Robin shifts between creating works that focus on a singular figure to paintings that have multiple figures woven together. He extensively reworks compositions and colour combinations, working across up to 15 paintings at a time.

The portrait subjects in his paintings originate from multiple sources, many are women Robin knows; his carers, ActionSpace staff, fellow artists, others he has imagined or inspired to capture from brief encounters. The stylised, full-face portraits saturated with vivid colour create bold, characterful figures, which are both individually fascinating and mesmerising as an assembled group.



Robin Smith joined ActionSpace’s supported studio at Studio Voltaire in 2014. Initially Robin exhibited in multiple group shows curated by ActionSpace including ‘The Out There Art Fair’ for Cockpit Open in and ‘Assembled Lines” part of Vital Mix for the Wandsworth Arts Fringe. Robin is now carving out a professional practice, exhibiting more widely beyond ActionSpace and exploring exciting new ideas within his painting and the process of making. During the pandemic Robin developed a unique online painting partnership with artist Richard Phoenix who also paints reimagined figurative portraits. Robin and Richard met each week over 18 months to paint alongside each other, online, each in their own studio spaces. Working online gave the opportunity to paint alongside one another and be influenced by each other’s practice. It flattened any power dynamics as each was supporting the other. Some of the work Robin and Richard developed whilst ‘Zoomin’ is currently being presented within an interactive online exhibition on the Skelf digital platform. Both artists are still working online together with the aim of developing a significant exhibition of their painting work in the near future.



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