In addition to paintings and sculptures from her previous collections, Smith's exhibit will include a custom sculpture created on-site to fit the unique characteristics of the Piedmont Arts galleries and an interactive homage to the Civil Rights Movement constructed by Smith using images and historical documents on loan from the collection of Reverend Thurman Echols.
Often compared to that of Richard Mayhew and Norman Lewis, Smith's work has the ability to incite emotions with lush palettes and expressive brush strokes. She creates provocative and meaningful imagery that challenges the viewer to consider events and circumstances taking place in the world today.
Though Smith's paintings use textures, tones, shades, colors and strokes as a way to engage the viewer, her sculptures often consist of her everyday trash (junk mail, bottles, cans, old clothes, rags, newspapers, etc.). Smith collects these otherwise discarded materials and uses them as a metaphor for how she views the world.
"I am called upon to create my art in response to the events, circumstances and times of the world around me," says Smith. "Whether it is the plight of women and children around the world, the tragedy of a natural disaster or a conversation with a friend. I am able to create from the now. I use my work as a way to share information by connecting it to socioeconomic and political issues."
Smith is a Bronx native of Belizean descent. Her work has been exhibited with noted artists including Norman Lewis, Frank Bowling, Samella Lewis, Chakai Booker and Howardena Pindell. Her works are in the private collections of Danny Simmons, Cicely Tyson, Vivica A. Fox and Dr. Maya Angelou.
Also on display: Earth, Sky and the In-Between, featuring pottery and other works by Bill and Susan Moore, in the Lynwood Artists Gallery.
Reverend Thurman Echols, Imogene and Isadore Draper, Joyce Staples, Anne Vipperman, Narda S. Dixon, Lynwood Artists and Piedmont Arts will hold a Members Reception and Artist Talk in honor of Dianne Smith: Surface and Soul and Earth, Sky and the In-Between on Friday, January 13, 2012 at 5:30 pm in the Piedmont Arts galleries. Piedmont Arts members and guests are invited to attend. Babysitting is available for $5 per child. Please RSVP attendance to 276.632.3221 by January 10, 2012.
Piedmont Arts is a nonprofit art museum and educational outreach center in Martinsville, Virginia that facilitates ongoing enrichment of the lives of the people of Martinsville, Henry County and the surrounding area, through positive exposure, education and experiences in the visual and performing arts. Piedmont Arts is a statewide partner of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and is accredited by the American Association of Museums.