1. Leslie SMITH III
    On The Fringe, 2019
    Oil on shaped canvas
    24.75 x 23 in
  2. Leslie SMITH III
    Righteous Voyage, 2019
    Oil on shaped canvas
    26.5 x 17.5 in
  3. Leslie SMITH III
    Stranger, 2020
    Oil on shaped canvas
    61 x 70 in
  4. Leslie SMITH III
    Slavish Devotion, 2020
    Oil and graphite on shaped canvas
    27.5 x 26.5 in

    Collection particulière
  5. Leslie SMITH III
    On Thin Ice, 2019
    Oil on shaped canvas
    26.5 x 20 in

    Collection particulière
  6. Leslie SMITH III
    The Backside of Happiness, 2020
    Oil, acrylic and graphite on shaped canvas
    25.75 x 19.50 in

    Collection particulière
  7. Leslie SMITH III
    Bloom, 2020
    Oil on shaped canvas
    35.5 x 34.5 in
  8. Leslie SMITH III
    Just Outside The Window, 2019
    Oil on shaped canvas
    24 x 25.5 in

    Collection particulière
  9. Leslie SMITH III
    Three Sided Day Dream, 2017
    Oil on shaped canvas
    40,6 x 50,8 cm
  10. Leslie SMITH III
    Consumption III, 2019
    Graphite and Acrylic Collage on Arches Paper
    20,3 x 14,6 cm
  11. Leslie SMITH III
    Consumption IV, 2019
    Graphite and Acrylic Collage on Arches Paper
    20,3 x 14,6 cm

    Collection particulière
  12. Leslie SMITH III
    Consumption V, 2019
    Graphite and Acrylic Collage on Arches Paper
    20,3 x 14,6 cm
  13. Leslie SMITH III
    The Gospel of Minimalism n°1, 2018
    Graphite and acrylic on Arches paper
    20,5 x 15 cm
  14. Leslie SMITH III
    The Gospel of Minimalism n°2, 2018
    Graphite and acrylic on Arches paper
    20,5 x 15 cm
  15. Leslie SMITH III
    The Gospel of Minimalism n°3, 2018
    Graphite and acrylic on Arches paper
    20,5 x 15 cm
  16. Leslie SMITH III
    The Gospel of Minimalism n°4, 2018
    Graphite and acrylic on Arches paper
    20,5 x 15 cm
  17. Leslie SMITH III
    The Gospel of Minimalism n°5, 2018
    Graphite and acrylic on Arches paper
    20,5 x 15 cm
  18. Leslie SMITH III
    The Gospel of Minimalism n°6, 2018
    Graphite and acrylic on Arches paper
    20,5 x 15 cm


Introduction

LESLIE SMITH III: A sentimental abstraction

Influenced by the avant-garde and modernist architecture, from which he learnt a certain way of considering painting as an object, a simple form on a wall, Leslie Smith III however stands out with an artistic practice that cannot be reduced to the only abstraction. Rather, he is concerned by a singular form of narrativity. Giving up the human figure, which the artist considers "cumbersome", he prefers the malleability of the abstract signifier, which allows him to abolish the univocal reflex of recognition. Abstraction appears so as an perfect tool for representing the human experience and translating into forms the links that unite or constrain people: "I often try to define characteristics resembling aggression or passivity in one shape or perhaps two shapes joined together. "*

His shaped-canvas and drawings on paper are so establishing radical graphic relationships, whose intensity of colours and subtlety of gradients confer a particularly incarnate and human poetry. And that is precisely in this confusion that the real subject of Leslie Smith III's painting is: a desire to communicate emotions that are both real and abstract, authentic although constructed.

This oscillation between two systems (sentimental versus ideal) must remind us some of the principles of "performatism", as defined by Raoul Eshelman** and which, borrowing Postmodernism's rigor, adds to it a sincere desire to share the experience of Beauty, Love, Faith and Transcendence. A fruitful in-between to which Leslie Smith III claims to be entitled and that allows him to achieve a greater diversity of intentions and a higher degree of humanism: "It is easy to find solutions to situations that are clear-cut black and white. My paintings strive to represent the complex grey area we live in. "*


* Extact from an interview with Bridget Gleeson for Artsy (2017)

** cf.  Raoul Eshelman, Performatism or the End of Postmodernism, 2008

Thibault Bissirier, March 2019



Leslie SMITH III was born in 1985 in Silver Springs (Maryland, USA). He lives and works in Madison (Wisconsin, USA). He graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Painting from the Maryland Institute College of Art (2007) and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Painting and Engraving from Yale University (2009). He is still teaching Drawing and Painting at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

His work has been exhibited in several solo shows in Europe and the United States, including her first solo exhibition at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art in Madison, Wisconsin "I Dream Too Much" and Valérie Cassel Oliver's exhibition "Black in the Abstract, Part 2: Soft Curves/Hard Edges" at the Contemporary Arts Museum Houston in Houston, Texas. He has also participated in several group exhibitions, like the Milwaukee Museum of Art, the Baltimore Museum of Art, the Skirball Museum in Cincinnati and Yale University (New Haven).

Leslie Smith III is represented in the United States by Maus Contemporary (Birmingham, Alabama), in Canada by the Patrick Mikhal Gallery (Montreal, Quebec), and in Germany by the Heike Strelow Gallery (Frankfurt). His works are also part of numerous institutional and private collections in the United States, where he has received several awards and honours, including the National Foundation for the Advancement in the Arts Scholarship in 2003 and the Al Held Affiliate Fellowship of the American Academy in Rome in 2009.





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