Richard Smith was an English painter and printmaker. He studied at the Royal College of Art from 1954 to 1957 and from 1959 to 1961 lived in New York through a Harkness Fellowship. During his time in New York, Smith produced paintings that combined the formal qualities of the work of American abstract painters with references to American commercial culture - including its lush and seductive colours, its exploitation of magnification and soft-focus effects, and its stimulation of desire and fantasy. Smith's use of shaped canvases sometimes physically extended into space and initially referred to devices used in advertising to promote products and overpower and entice the spectator. Gradually, such direct references were minimised in favour of the largely self-contained abstract qualities of shape, support, colour, and surface. Repetition suggests some response to Minimalism, although he resisted the call to new materials and compared his cutting and folding of canvas to large-scale origami. Bulky constructions such as these were followed from 1972 by paintings using components from tent manufacturing. These paintings focused on the physical constitution of painting as a stretched and suspended surface and played with relationships of colour and shape, drawing and structure. After resettling in New York in 1976, Smith's work evolved into larger-scale architectural decoration, often in response to commissions.