Gallery Artists > Shirley Thomson Smith Biography :

Shirley Thomson Smith (b. 1929)  Artworks >>

Known for her stoic portrayals of women, Shirley Thomson Smith creates sculpted figures that seem a combination of Indian, Mexican and African, silent and thoughtful, suggesting the strength and endurance of humanity. She was deeply influenced by a move she and her husband made in 1953 from Oklahoma to Durango, Colorado. Traveling into the Southwest, she came into contact with Native Americans, especially Navajo women, whom she found fascinating. But it was about five years later, after a return move to Oklahoma, that she started to include them as subject matter. In 1980, she became a full-time sculptor, and in 1985 was accepted as a member of the National Academy of Western Art, only the fourth woman to have been admitted. She works with water-based clay, without armatures and without a model or preliminary sketch and photographs continuously while working. She has molds made locally and then ships the clay piece in the mold to the foundry. The final form evolves from her intuitive response to her material. ---------------------------------------------------------------------- Shirley Thomson-Smith was born in 1929 in St. Louis, studied art at the University of Oklahoma Art School, lived in Durango, Colorado in the 1950's and early 60's. She has been a member of the National Academy of Western Art (N.A.W.A., now called Prix De West) since 1985. She has observed American Indian, African and Hispanic women continuously for years and is able to portray their strength, grace and peace with an uncanny sense of presence and motion. It all started back in 1980; she was then unhappily employed as a secretary and felt frustrated as an artist. "If I went through my whole life and never tried to make it as an artist, I'd always be disappointed in myself." When the frustration became unbearable, she finally got enough courage, quit her job and followed her heart and dream: to be an artist. Through hard work (her goal was to sell one piece a month) blended with great talent, she was accepted as a member of the prestigious N.A.W.A. Since then, she has received national recognition and acclaims as one of the most sought-after sculptors producing today. Shirley Thomson-Smith's sculptures can be found in many museums and private collections, especially throughout the Western United States, and is represented by fine art galleries and dealers from coast to coast, border to border, as well as in many of the better art shows. "I want to continue to grow and create pieces that give enjoyment and pleasure to everyone that views them. I don't think we are ever so great that we can't learn. A true sculpture is one carved from stone." That is her next goal. RENDEZVOUS 2001 at the Gilcrease Museum featured the works of Shirley Thomson-Smith in a show in April, 2001. It marked the occasion of a new era in the Rendezvous tradition that spans more than twenty years of showcasing distinguished contemporary American painters and sculptors, alongside a remarkable permanent collection of some of the greatest American artists of the past 200 years. Source

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