Valerie Carberry Gallery

Leon Polk Smith: Space Considered

Leon Polk Smith: Space Considered

untitled by leon polk smith

Leon Polk Smith

Untitled, 1965

Friday, November 8, 2013Saturday, January 11, 2014


Chicago, IL USA

Valerie Carberry Gallery is pleased to announce Space Considered, an exhibition of twelve works executed by Smith between 1954 and 1965. Together, the pieces in this exhibition provide a new entry point into the advancements of midcentury abstraction and offer important insight into a fascinating artist’s lifelong engagement with color, line, and the shifting valences of pictorial space.

While his career as an artist began in the 1940's, Leon Polk Smith first received widespread critical attention for his minimal abstract paintings of the 1950s. Spare, controlled, and articulate, they were heir to Mondrian’s concretions and Brancusi’s elegant curves—and radically opposed to the dominant visual language of the time, Abstract Expressionism. Smith’s compositions were often just two colors meeting along an arc, tracing out a volume or form that seemed to expand beyond the boundary of the stretcher. The project would evolve into Smith's best-known series, the Constellations of the late 1960s and 70s, in which he arranged multiple shaped canvases in a chain or sequence to convey the ever-expanding curve of space.

This exhibition, the artist’s first in Chicago since his inclusion in the 1973 Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition Post-Mondrian Abstraction, includes painting but is more diverse in media such as construction, collage and painted objects. Together these works offer a rarely seen and revelatory moment in minimal abstraction. Using astoundingly streamlined curvilinear image structures, Smith foretells a generation’s worth of spatial experimentation and refinement.

A full color catalogue of the exhibition with an essay by Stephen Westfall is available from the gallery for $15.

Valerie Carberry Gallery is open to the public 10-5, Monday through Friday, and 11-5 on Saturday. For additional information regarding the gallery, upcoming exhibitions, or reproductions, please contact Susan Beagley, 312-397-9990 or visit the Valerie Carberry Gallery website.