Roxa Smith was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela. She came to the US in her teens and attended Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine, where she earned a degree in Art History and German with a minor in Visual Arts in 1984. 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 this gray and grimy city, Roxa turned to painting people's interiors, which were full of life and color. Over the course of years, Roxa worked on a variety of other subject matter such as Animals in Interiors, Mindscapes and Toys and Robots. However, Roxa's love for interpreting every day contemporary life has always anchored her art making. She has also explored paper collage using the themes chairs and bicycles and has completed a series of Cityscapes. Since the pandemic, Roxa has returned to 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.
Over the years, Roxa has received many honors and awards.Most recently (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 and was included in the magazine,
Studio Visit, Vol 49 & Vol. 50. In 2017, she was a finalist for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Arts and Design program to bring art to the subway. In 2013, she was awarded a New York Foundation for the Arts (NYFA)-Basil Alkazi fellowship at the Sheldon Museum in Lincoln, Nebraska that was followed by a solo show at the museum's Focus Gallery. In 2013, the Durst Foundation and Chashama in association with NYFA sponsored a solo show of Roxa's work at the Conde Nast building in Times Square, New York. In 2012, Roxa received a Fellowship in Painting from the NYFA. That same year, she was curated into the art magazines: New American Paintings, Issue 98 as well as into Studio Visit, Vol. 16. In 2011, she received a grant to attend NYFA Boot camp Artist as an Entrepreneur program. In 2004, she was a finalist for the Alexander Rutsch Award for painting and previous to that, she received a Latin American Artist Award, an ARTnews Award and many honorable mentions in national and international exhibitions. She has exhibited widely nationally and internationally and has had solo and two person exhibitions in New York City, Los Angeles, Nebraska, Indiana, upstate New York and Panama. Roxa lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
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