New Exhibit Shows Color and Whimsy in Work

Story provided by Modella Gallery

“Lawson Smith: Redefined,” an overview exhibit of the career of the artist, sculptor and educator, opened Thur., May 29, at 11 am at Modella Art Gallery, 721 S. Main. 

The exhibition of sculptures, sketches, and drawings will remain on display through Saturday, June 26.  A conversation about the artist and artwork with his widow, Malinda, will be Sat., June 5, at 11 am 

Smith utilizes a distinctive style of whimsy, reflection, color, and imagination altering the most familiar of objects. Smith was a sculpture and mixed media professor at Syracuse University. He taught in the Studio Arts Department from 1976 to 2006. He received his MFA from the University of Nebraska in 1974 and his BFA from Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, in 1970. 

Once interviewed, Smith explained that as with any art medium, drawing allows for improvisation. “It provides a way to investigate improbable realities, to suspend time, to defy gravity, to exaggerate, and pretend. This is, in part, why I am drawn to it. The medium of black pencil on white paper is well suited to the exploration of contrasts: light/dark, funny/frightening, real/unreal, good/evil. The pencil mark can vary from harsh black to smooth and fleshy. The mark-making chronicles the energy/activity of producing the drawing, while the images found on the paper chronicle the imaginary event/ situation. In a way, the drawings present simultaneous realities, past and present.” 

The images and subject matter in his works originate from a variety of sources including daily events that make an impression, as well as by objects at hand and appropriate illustrations.  

His primary area of creative work is sculpture, but drawing remained a consistent studio activity for  him. His drawings have shown internationally and in national juried exhibitions. Smith’s artwork has been presented in over 30 solo exhibitions at such prestigious venues as O.K. Harris in New York City and Henri Gallery in Washington, D.C. He has also participated in juried or group exhibitions  throughout the US including The Friends of Contemporary Art in Denver, CO. 

His work is held in numerous private and public collections, including the Bartlett Art Center, Stillwater, Oklahoma. Lawson spent the last years of his art career photographing birds. He really enjoyed  creating booklets to use to review the birds that we might see each time we took a trip. 

Modella Gallery is a non-profit art gallery dedicated to bringing contemporary arts to Stillwater, Oklahoma. The gallery continues to be a program designed to share the works from national and  local artists, visual art, musical performances, and hosts special events and projects. Modella Gallery  is located at 721 South Main Street in historic downtown Stillwater, Oklahoma. The hours are Thurs day and Friday 5 to 8pm, Saturday 11am to 5pm, and Sunday 11am-3pm. For more information,  please contact the gallery at (405) 880-4434 or visit