Born in Hertfordshire in 1931, Richard Smith studied at the Royal College of Art, London from 1954-57. In 1959 Smith was awarded the prestigious Harkness Fellowship which facilitated his move to New York, where he has remained ever since. During this time, Smith was able to observe form and colour featured in the iconography and consumerism of the 1960s.
Smith challenged the structural properties of stretching canvas, expanding the frames into three dimensional structures by building extensions. Smith produced these works on a large scale, alluding to the monumentality of the billboards that surround the landscape of America. During the 1970s and 1980s the canvas was taken off the usual wooden stretchers, with strings hung from the edges or tied in knots; these works were coined the 'kite' pieces and were no longer restricted to hanging rigid on the wall.
Although now painting on a more conventional canvas, Smith's oeuvre remains as dynamic, colourful and expressionist to this day.