Community art champion puts unique spin on portraiture

Community art champion and 2021 Ipswich Citizen of the Year Glen Smith has a solo exhibition Portraiture in Still Life currently showing at the Ipswich Art Gallery.

Mr Smith has combined his love of painting and passion for collecting objects with his deep affection for his community.

Each work explores a personal relationship through compositions of vintage treasures, presented as painted ‘portraits’ of beloved friends.

“Instead of doing traditional portraits of my family and friends, I combined my interest in still life and put the personality of my friend or family member into each painting,” Mr Smith said.

“For example I have a friend who just loves doing dishes.”

The exhibition was two years in the making with one local describing it as Australian domestic bliss on a canvas.

“I think people got back in touch with spending more time at home after COVID-19 last year and these pieces feature vintage elements still found in a lot of homes,” Mr Smith said.

“I chose the second hand frames to match the artwork so the frames are also very much a part of the artwork.

“I also incorporated lacework and material into the pieces which really give the viewer that nostalgic feel.”

Ode to Jill by Glen Smith. 2020 | Acrylic on board, 54.5cm x 84.5cm

Mr Smith is the president of Artsconnect (a group of local artists), he is on the committee for the Ipswich Arts Awards, the Regional Arts Development Fund (RADF) and a member of several art societies.

Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said that the exhibition is another wonderful opportunity to empower local creatives.

“Our diverse creative community brings so much to Ipswich, supporting the city’s cultural, aesthetic and economic vitality,” Mayor Harding said.

“Glenn has set the standard, between his leadership at Artsconnect and support for community organisations over the years.

“We are thrilled to have Glen’s wonderful work on display at the Ipswich Art Gallery, with his love of collecting, evident in each still life.

“Our premier art space, the Ipswich Art Gallery, gives local artists the opportunity to showcase their work to the 100,000 plus gallery visitors each year, alongside other major travelling exhibitions.”

See Portraiture in Still Life daily at the Ipswich Art Gallery, d’Arcy Doyle Place until 18 April.

The exhibition is free from 10am to 5pm daily except Good Friday.

No bookings are required, however, visitors are required to provide contact tracing information via a digital QR code check-in on arrival as part of the Gallery’s CovidSafe plan.

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