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 John Meredith  (1933 - 2000)

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Lived/Active: Ontario / Canada      Known for: abstract expressionist painting

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John Meredith Smith is primarily known as John Meredith

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
John Meredith Smith, painter, was known professionally since 1951 as John Meredith.  He studied at the Ontario College of Art 1950-53, and had his first solo exhibition in 1958.  Meredith's work was informed by a belief in the human presence as the ultimate subject of art; it was based on knowledge gained through experience rather than theory, on instinctive understanding.

In early works (1958-62), abstract vertical stripes, dark and tonal in colour, take on first vegetal and then human connotations, projecting a pervasive sense of primordial mystery. Paintings from the period 1962-66 generally present large-scale images and brilliant colour, often used to optical and psychological effect.  Coloured-ink sketches then became the basis for paintings; his work at the same time became increasingly complex, concentrated and obsessive. These exceptional paintings of the later 1960s achieve a forceful presence, not through scale alone but also through an insistent, overall interaction of colour, related and recurring motifs and linear patterning.

Works of the early 1970s frequently evoked the Orient through their titles and subtle asymmetries, but by the 1980s his paintings became simplified, looser and more open.  In 1986 the Region of Peel Art Gallery in Brampton, Ontario held a 30-year survey of his work, and by mid-decade he had turned to spare figure paintings reminiscent of the later de Kooning.

The Canadian Encyclopedia online,

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