May 4 – June 24, 2017 • Joan Mondale Gallery
Opening Reception with the Artist: Thursday, May 4, 6 – 8 pm


That’s How the Light Gets In: Reflections on Transitions
Recent Work by Barbara Lee Smith



Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”
~Leonard Cohen, Anthem

Personal, political; even a bit philosophical, these works from the past few years express the changes that have given me pause to reflect on the light that slips in.

The works range from a celebration of the great gray Pacific Northwest to thoughts on the reality of moving diagonally to the sun and warmth of climate and family in North Carolina. There is no “perfect offering,” just thoughts on departures and arrivals; farewells and welcomes.

During this time the political landscape has shifted, and those celebrations of land, sea, sky and marsh become not just personal memories, but also quiet calls to “ring the bells that still can ring.”

The painter, Helen Frankenthaler, has said that a good work about light should be mostly dark. I hope that these works reveal light, even if sometimes it’s just between the cracks.”

Barbara Lee Smith is an award-winning mixed media artist, writer, educator, and curator who creates large-scale landscapes and abstract works using a three-step process of painting, collage, and machine stitching. In addition to numerous international solo exhibitions, Smith’s work has been collected by the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, the Racine Art Museum, the Indianapolis Art Museum, other various U.S. collections and in Europe, Africa, Asia, and South America. She is the author of Celebrating the Stitch: Contemporary Embroidery of North America.

Exhibitions are supported in part by funds from the Joan Mondale Gallery Endowment.

Pictured: detail of Solstice Light, Photo: Tom Holt, Tacoma WA.