31 May - 24 June 2019


An exhibition celebrating Ian McKenzie Smith's quietly evocative abstracted landscapes. A selection of early landscape drawings will also feature alongside, exemplifying his artistic journey throughout the years.

Ian McKenzie Smith (b.1935) studied at Gray’s in Aberdeen under Ian Fleming RSA and R. Henderson Blyth RSA and subsequently at Hospitalfield College of Art in Arbroath. Travelling Scholarships took him to Europe, and an extended acquaintance with the treasurers of the Louvre and the Uffizi, and also with the wealth of contemporary work in other public and private galleries – including an early exposure to the great American colour-field painters of the 1950’s in Brussels. Back in Paris he met the Japanese artist Kenzo Okada and encountered Zen philosophy. An oriental sense of balance and calligraphic finesse has been an enduring obsession in his distinctly personal brand of landscape based abstraction throughout his career.

Following a short period of teaching and working in a London gallery, McKenzie Smith moved to Glasgow to work with the Council of Industrial Design. In 1968 he was appointed Director of Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums, a post he held and developed over some thirty years.

His work in the Museums and Arts professions led to opportunities to serve on numerous associated bodies such as the Scottish Arts Council, the Museums and Galleries Commission, the National Trust for Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland, the Scottish National Heritage, and extensive travel in America, Russia, Europe and Japan with the International Council of Museums.

Awarded an OBE in 1992 for his services to Art, and a CBE in 2009, McKenzie Smith was President of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour from 1988 – 1998, and Treasurer, Secretary, then President of the Royal Scottish Academy from 1990 – 2007. He was awarded an LLD from the University of Aberdeen, a DArt from the Robert Gordon University, and Fellowships from the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, the Museums Association and the Saltsburg Seminar.

McKenzie Smith has exhibited widely in this country and abroad and has work in many public collections including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, the Government Art Collection, the British Library, Royal Scottish Academy, Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth Art Galleries, and in private collections in the UK, Europe, North America and Japan.