Frank Smith was attracted to paint texture and pattern as a young artist, seeking out a broad spectrum of European influences such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and Seurat. Raised in a family of musicians, Smith was especially attracted to Kandinsky’s association of art and music through abstraction. By working on several pieces simultaneously, Smith combines disjointed rhythms and syncopated patterns of paint and mixed media by sewing the canvas together, using a sewing machine–though he does not deny the process’s or end product’s resemblance to quilt-making.
Smith insists that the process comes out of necessity to sturdily adhere fabric together. Improvisation from a Patch Quilt is a colorful example of his assemblages. Bright zigzag stitching joins colorful patches of painted patterns and found objects. Smith’s work simultaneously pays homage to his African heritage and African art education while serving as a vehicle for his own challenges as a contemporary abstract artist.
Born Chicago, 1939
BFA., University of Illinois , Chicago 1958
Began teaching career in Chicago Public Schools, 1959
Began career at Howard University, Washington, D.C., 1970
African Commune of Bad Relevant Artists (AfriCobra), 1970
M.F.A., Howard University , Washington , D.C., 1972
Diaspora-3 Award, Paramaraibo, Suriname, 1982