Richard Smith - Ouse from the Field and Stream Series
British, b.1931
Ouse from the Field and Stream Series, 1982
Aquatint, etching and lithograph, 30 x 22.25 inches
Artist Proof 7/12 (from an edition of 38)
Tyler Graphics Ltd.

Gift of William J. Lutz and Karen Wicklund Lutz (MBA '78)

Richard Smith’s art is a notable example of the formalist abstraction that emerged in England and the United States during the early 1960s. Smith’s innovative use of shaped canvases was matched in the work of the American artists Frank Stella and Ellsworth Kelly. All three artists explored geometric forms, which progressively became more intricate during the 1970s.

Smith’s precise shapes in his early work became more fluid, as can be seen in The Field and Stream series of aquatints from 1982. Overlapping shapes are less distinct and structured. Forms also take on an organic character as their colors bleed down in vertical rivulets, an effect enhanced by the processes of aquatint printing. The title of the series also makes reference to nature, which furthermore suggests the expansion of pure abstraction to include allusive forms and outside meanings.