Barbara Lee Smith|
From the back:
This leading American artist, author and teacher is seen working in her studio and talking about current sequences of work some of which are shown in complete records of the recent Tacoma and the current travelling UK exhibitions.
There are comprehensive demonstrations of each stage of production and a clear insight of the expressive and aesthetic possibilities of the exploration. This is based in the celebration of space, light and colour associated with landscape. It is realised by painting, spraying and printing colour on fabric which is then collaged by heat fusion and stitched with machine embroidery. What is incredible about this powerful, large scale work is that there are so many varied aspects of appreciation and apprehension of place, setting and meaning. Some pieces can be in a series of atmospheric, lyrical colour impressions of seasons perhaps related to Monet's garden. Others are concerned with the region where sky meets land or water. There are also spatial views of vast regions real and divined with notions of vertigo and vulnerability along with the freedom of space. A wealth of notations, symbols and personal devices indicates different forces, qualities and meanings which create impacted strata for semiotics.
To be '"in" a place is to feel it in our skins, examine it with deep seeing, and reflect on it with memory. In order to make visual a sense of place, I rely on multiple points of view, expressed simultaneously. One can see from above, as if from a vantage point of a bird, or looking down at one's feet. One can see a distant horizon or a slightly out of focus blur when inhaling the scent of a flower. Each is a way of experiencing a place and each aids the memory of somewhere. On occasion we rely on aids from those who've gone before - maps, signs and symbols, or blazes cut in trails. These marks may help or confuse, depending on our understanding and experience, but they always symbolize the presence of others. The "big" picture then, is the sum of the details stitched together that help to heighten our awareness: that's what I aim for in my studio, and that's what I hope will be a response to my work.
DVD, 75 minutes.
Northern Illinois University,
MFA, Mixed Media 1978. University Fellow 1977-78
Visiting Professor: Joshibi College of Art and Design, Tokyo 2000-2005
Honorary Member, The Embroiderers’ Guild, London, UK
Douglass College, Rutgers University, BS, 1959
Further study: Governors’ State University College of DuPage
George Williams College
Residencies: The Ragdale Foundation, Lake Forest, IL 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000
Named ‘Distinguished Resident’ 2002
Brison Veor, St. Just, Cornwall, UK 2004
Senior Resident: Oregon College of Art and Craft, Portland 1996
Part-time Lecturer: Joshibi College of Art and Design, Tokyo 1999