Roxa Smith was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She came to the US in her teens and attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, earning a BA in 1984 in Art History and German with a minor in Visual Arts. She later received a Graduate Certificate in the Fine Arts from the University of California, Santa Cruz in 1987.
In California, she was an active participant of a group of 'plein-air' painters led by Lundy Siegrist and Terry St. John, one of the original Bay Area 'plein air' painters of the 1970s. Being part of this group cemented her love for painting and in particularly at that point in landscape painting, which she focused on until she moved to New York City in 1991.
In the 1990s, New York City was not the visually beautiful city it is today. Not inspired to paint the landscape of New York City, Smith turned to painting people's interiors, which were full of life and color. Over the course of years, Smith worked on a variety of other subject matter such as Animals in Interiors, Mindscapes and Toys and Robots. However, Smith's love for interpreting every day contemporary life has always anchored her art. Besides painting, Smith has also explored paper collage using the themes of chairs and bicycles. Since the pandemic, Smith has continued re-interpreting contemporary indoor scenes focusing in particular on plants and chairs. Her colorful paintings have evolved into familiar and idiosyncratic reconsiderations of space where patterns and details reign supreme.
Smith has had multiple solo and two-person shows. In March 2023, she had her first solo exhibition at C24 Gallery, New York City. In 2023, the Pocket Art Museum in Austin, Texas featured Smith's miniature paintings-The Language of Chairs- in their spring exhibit. In 2022, she had a sold out show at C24 Gallery in a two-person exhibit. In 2015, Smith had a solo show at The Focus Gallery of the Sheldon Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska following a solo show at Lyly's Gallery at the Rodger Smith Hotel in New York City in 2014. She has also exhibited her work at other venues such as: Kenise Barnes Fine Arts (NY), The Conde Nast building (NYC), George Billis Gallery (NYC and LA) and Visage Arte Contemporaneo, Panama.
Smith has received a range of awards, residencies, and fellowships. In 2022,she was awarded artist of the week in the online magazine: Epicenter-NYC. In 2021, she received the The Walter J. and Anna H. Burchan Trust Memorial Prize at the 86th Annual Juried Art Exhibition in Cooperstown, NY. That same year, she was awarded an Artist Grant by the Vermont Studio Center. In 2017, Smith was a finalist for a Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts and Design commission (Brooklyn, New York.) In 2013, she was awarded the prestigious New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)-Basil Alkazi Fellowship at the Sheldon Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska. In 2012, Smith received a Fellowship in Painting from NYFA a year after receiving a grant to attend NYFA Boot camp: Artist as an Entrepreneur program in 2011.
Smith has been published in many magazines and newspapers. In May 2023 issue, the Brooklyn Rail reviewed her solo show, No Vacancy. In April 2023, her work appeared in the I Like Your Work Spring Catalogue. In 2022, Interlocutor magazine and Viceversa magazine published articles about her 2 person exhibition at C24Gallery. In 2011, she was included in New American Paintings Norhteast Catalogue (Vol. 99). Studio Visit Magazine featured her art in 2221 (Vol. 50) and in 2011 (Vol. 16). Other publications to showcase Smith's work include Artspace magazine (2019), the NYFA Newsletter Artspire (2012), New York Times, Connecticut and Westchester section (2015) and HuffPost (2012).
Roxa Smith is represented by C24Gallery, Chelsea, NY.
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