News & Current Exhibitions
Barbara Lee Smith - Featured Artist
Urban Durham Realty
I delight in making connections - connections between people, places, events. I’m fascinated with the dynamic that emerges when people find common ground, the thread between them that can lead to changes in each individual, and a sense of strength that comes from this connection.
I focus on nature; the strength and fragility of land and sea; the cycle of decay and growth. I ache from human interference in this natural wonder, and I make art with the hope that my work will draw attention to the urgent need to heal our world. The last few years have made us more aware of our own vulnerability, and each birthday past my ‘use by’ date gives me pause. Being with younger friends, family and colleagues is a renewing experience for me, and that brings me right back to a love for connection.
I want to engage the viewer by inviting you in close to see the details, and then back away to see the whole. That is exactly the way I compose a work, so I am delighted when I see people connect and echo this ‘dance’ of creation.
Passages Art Exhibit
Barbara Lee Smith & Joyce Watkins King
Passages are transitions, the in-between spaces that often don’t command our attention. But when we step back and look or listen more closely, they can gain in importance.
Barbara Lee Smith and Joyce Watkins King were introduced to each other by mutual artist friends and curators in 2019. Perhaps it was because they both have a strong sense of materiality in their work, making compositions from fiber, fabric, and garment parts combined with ink, paint, and stitch.
They enjoyed sharing their art and life experiences with one another, quickly realizing why their friends had introduced them. Even though the artists chose the title “Passages” for this exhibition prior to the global pandemic, the title still suits their work now, three years later.
A Friendship Forged in the Archives
At first glance, it might seem like Maine writer and illustrator Jessica Esch happened upon the Archives of American Art by chance. After all, she loves and oftentimes inexplicably lands in a good repository of knowledge.
But the truth is, while perhaps Jess didn’t realize her exact destination, she’d been climbing toward the Archives with the confidence and enthusiasm of a free soloist for a very long time. Because that’s what Jess does: she climbs.
One foothold leads to another and another and another. Her focus pairs with curiosity as she engages with the most amazing people, places, and life lessons along her route. I’ve had the joy of watching her and, in many cases, benefiting from the trickle-down effect. Perhaps the best part is witnessing Jess when she reaches a summit so high and glorious it changes her forever. Such was the case when she arrived at the Archives, especially when she encountered mixed media and textile artist Barbara Lee Smith.