New Works (2014)

Arvie Smith’s paintings transform the history of oppression and stereotypes in the American experience into lyrical, two-dimensional masterworks. His psychological images reveal deep empathy for the dispossessed and the marginalized, and shine a light on their profound will to survive and to resist powerful systems of injustice. His unrelenting search for beauty, meaning, and equality began in the South where he grew up: childhood memories and personal family stories inform his awareness of the stain of slavery of African Americans on all Americans. Smith’s work aims to solidify the memory of these atrocities and oppression so that they will never be forgotten or repeated.

New Works exhibition was primarily influenced by his recent travels to Thailand, his recent work with incarcerated youth who were primarily Black, his years living in Baltimore where he studied with Grace Hartigan and taught at the Maryland Institute College of Art, his extensive travel and life long personal relationships with people of Mali, West Africa, and his early years growing up in SE Los Angeles.

He is Professor Emeritus of Painting at Pacific Northwest College of Art where he taught since the mid 80’s, prior to this he was assistant professor at Maryland Institute College of Art and visiting professor at University of Oregon and Oregon College of Art and Crafts. Smith studied at Il Bisonte in Florence, Italy in 1983, received his BFA at PNCA in 1984, and in 1992 received his MFA from Hoffberger School of Painting, Maryland Institute College of Art, where he was teaching assistant to Grace Hartigan. 6/14