Born in Montrose in 1935, Ian McKenzie Smith PPRSA studied at Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen, and at Hospitalfield, Arbroath. Former president and secretary of the Royal Scottish Academy, McKenzie Smith was director of Aberdeen Art Gallery from 1968 to 1989 and was the city's arts and recreation officer from 1989 to 1996. Awarded an OBE for services to art in 1992, and a CBE in 2009, he was President of the Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour from 1988 to 1998; Secretary of the Royal Scottish Academy from 1991 to 1998; and President of the RSA from 1998 to 2007. 


McKenzie Smith's work shows his commitment to a distinctly personal brand of landscape-based abstraction: a subtle evocative way of painting that owes something to Eastern traditions, as well as the American colour-field painters of the 1950s.


McKenzie Smith's work is held by numerous collections including the National Galleries of Scotland; the University of Glasgow; the Fleming Collection, London; and the City Art Centre, Edinburgh.


A travelling scholarship took him to Paris, where he met the Japanese artist Kenzo Okada and encountered Zen philosophy.  An oriental sense of balance and calligraphic finesse that has been a feature of his work ever since. In 1992 he was awarded an OBE and CBE for his services to art and in 1968 he was appointed the Director of the Aberdeen Art Gallery and Museums.


McKenzie Smith has work in many public collections including the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art; The Government Art Collection;  Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Perth Art Galleries and in private collections in the UK, Europe, North America and Japan.