Richard Bell Smith&Blanca Borja de Smith
The delicate nature studies by noted sculptors Richard Bell Smith and Blanca Borja de Smith are sure to strike a responsive chord among those who feel a special affinity for woodland, field, and stream. With unfailing mastery, this husband and wife team capture the dynamic spontaneity, rhythm, and textures of natural growth. Here the transcendental experience of being at one with nature is preserved in bronze and copper for your lasting enjoyment and contemplation.
Richard grew up close to the outdoors, and from a very early age he was fascinated by the natural world. As a youth in the decade of the fifties, he would spend long summer days observing wildlife and sketching scenes from around the pond near his north woods Michigan home. Winters were passed interpreting these memories in oils on canvas. He felt completely immersed in the colors, sounds, aroma, and even the tastes of the forest. This was the beginning of a lasting and intensely spiritual relationship with nature that permeates all his art to this day.
Bell's idyll with nature was interrupted for eleven years of university studies, during which he moved first to Arizona, then to California, where he earned advanced degrees in literature and linguistics. But true love will find a way, and even as he was working on his doctoral dissertation in Old Slavic literature, Richard continued to develop his artistic skill and to hone his knowledge of nature.
The lure of art proved invincible, and Richard went directly from academia back to the studio where his artistic sensibilities found their expression in a new medium- welded sculpture. He finds that working directly with molten metal is an ideal way to capture the flow of organic forms. His sculptures tend toward the interpretive and subjective end of the impressionist/photographic realist spectrum. For example, he strives to capture and communicate the essence of a tree as he experiences it rather than to merely reproduce a “photographic” copy of the original. The result is a tree sculpture that unmistakably evokes “aspen,” while a close scrutiny reveals that the leaves are not a literal copy of aspen leaves. Art imitates life, Richard agrees, but artistic expression must first pass through the interpretive filter of the artist. Art is an act of creation and communication. If too much is “filtered out,” the resulting work of art is obscure, and is relevant only to the artist and a small group of those who share his vision (or art entrepreneurs, who market his “product” as “avante guarde” to investors and pseudo-sophisticates!) An artist-communicator gains a following to the degree that his art resonates with the sensibilities of the viewer, and Bell's retinue of collectors and admirers is vast.
Bell has contributed many important innovations in technique and materials to his medium, elevating it to the point where he is able to express the finest nuance of color, texture, and form. He eschews any means of reproduction in his work. Each piece is an original welded sculpture, fashioned only with an oxyacetylene torch, a pair o f pliers- and his boundless imagination. Now in his “golden” years, Bell is renowned for his unrivaled skill with the welding torch. He has won numerous awards and competitions, exhibited in countless shows, and his sculptures are found in many of the world's finest collections.
Of his own art Bell says, “I am committed to the idea of creating sculptures of universal appeal- available to everyone at his own level of consciousness. For those who see only a pretty object for the home or office, they offer an ornamental and purely decorative beauty. For those who appreciate form, texture, color, and line in their more formal relationships, I attempt to create an integral work or art. And the person who seeks a deeper spiritual meaning through the contemplation of art may share my vision of an analogy between the the creation of a delicate tree sculpture from formless molten metal and the creation of the ordered universe from primal chaos. It is my sincere desire that my art might inspire people who routinely see only the decorative aspect to delve into the more introspective way of viewing, and in this way not only to satisfy their craving for beauty but to deepen their understanding, as well.”
Blanca Borja de Smith came to art by a circuitous route. She was born in Ecuador to a family that had one foot in their banana plantation in the coastal lowlands and the other high in the capital city of Quito. Family obligations and a whirlwind schedule prevented her from indulging in her interest in art until she emigrated to the United States and married Richard, who was still pursuing his study of Russian at UCLA. When her husband decided to return to art, Blanca did not have to be urged to join him. This was her dream, too. She has been by his side every step of the way. Now, after almost forty years as a professional artist, Blanca can boast that she has worked as many hours in the studio as her husband and that her work is at least as well received by galleries and the public as his.
Blanca's philosophy of art is in sharp contrast to Richard's. While his art is perhaps more studied and adheres more closely to the formal principles of what is “correct,” her work is quintessentially instinctive. This gives her sculptures a spontaneous and even whimsical quality that is highly prized by collectors. Her motto is, “If it looks right, it is right.”
With the acquisition of a sculpture by Richard Bell Smith or Blanca Borja de Smith, you may be assured that you own an art treasure of ever increasing value and enduring beauty. Each piece is individually hand wrought and signed by the artist, and each is a one-of-a-kind original- unique in all the world.
Richard and Blanca welcome commissions, and they encourage you to work with them to design a sculpture to meet your special needs.