CAG Vancouver opens Leon Polk Smith solo presentation, plus Heard Museum show extended
22 May 2021
The Contemporary Art Gallery (CAG) in Vancouver presents the first solo exhibition in a public gallery in Canada by Leon Polk Smith, open now and continuing through 22 August. Focusing on paintings and works on paper from the 1950s, 'Big Form, Big Space', guest curated by Nigel Prince, charts a critical moment in Smith’s artistic career in which the signature visual language of his work began to manifest.
Through almost forty works, the show traces a period in which Smith initiated a move away from the Eurocentric impulses of his formative years to embrace and make plain connections to his rural upbringing in the American Southwest, his Indigenous heritage and his identity as a gay man. At times playful, Smith’s refraction of his background is evidenced throughout his work: in his distinctive palette, in his approach to titling, and in the frequent evocation of body, place and landscape, at times recalling shapes, colours and patterns he experienced in his life, family and surroundings.
'Big Form, Big Space' provides a timely opportunity to re-evaluate Smith’s place within art history, looking beyond the strict appreciation of his place within hard-edge modernist abstraction to encompass broader considerations of context, time and identity. Following its presentation in Vancouver, the exhibition will be shown at Palm Springs Art Museum in spring 2022, and will be accompanied by a catalogue published in summer 2021.
A solo exhibition of Smith's work, 'Hiding in Plain Sight', at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona, has also now been extended to run through 3 July.
Find further information via CAG.
Leon Polk Smith, installation view of 'Big Form, Big Space' at Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, 14 May – 22 August 2021. Photography by SITE Photography.