Gary Ernest Smith, Great American Farmer, 1996. (Symbolism: Spirituality)

By Nickelson, Robert; Nickelson, Louise | School Arts, February 2003 | Go to article overview
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Gary Ernest Smith, Great American Farmer, 1996. (Symbolism: Spirituality)


Nickelson, Robert, Nickelson, Louise, School Arts


Oil on canvas, 60 x 48" (152 x 122 cm). Courtesy of the Springville Museum of Art.

About the Art

Gary Smith strives for simple, direct statements that capture the essential character of his subject. Instead of including explicit detail, he creates images that are icons and symbols, often of the rural West he calls home. This painting is in homage to people who work the land. Smith grew up on a farm and although he did not want to be a farmer, he does try, as he says, "To unite humanity with the earth through art."

A deeply spiritual man, Smith's artworks express his feelings in a deceptively simple way. Theodore Wolff, art critic for the Christian Science Monitor, says of Smith: "Most [artists] prefer a sliver of the truth and an art defined by theory, passion, or imitation. Not so for Gary E. Smith. For him art is expansive and holistic, ideal for sharing what is good, beautiful and true, and the best way to communicate one's deepest beliefs and intuitions."

About the Artist

Gary Smith was born in the small Oregon town of Baker.

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