Cascadia Art Museum is reopening on Thursday, Feb. 4 with a new exhibition The Sculpture of Charles W. Smith.
Originally from Woodside, N.Y., Smith (1922-2009) was a well-known Seattle sculptor whose worked shifted from an early focus on biomorphic abstractions of the human form to more condensed set of geometric shapes later in his career.
After completing his college degree in industrial design at the American Art School and Pratt Institute in 1948, he earned his BFA in sculpture at the University of Washington in 1952 where he also taught design and drawing. He was recognized as one of Time Magazine’s “Newsmakers of Tomorrow.” Throughout the 1950s, his work was consistently exhibited in regional shows and won several awards.
In 1963, on a Ford Foundation grant, Smith and his family moved to Japan for a year to study traditional Japanese sculpture techniques. Here he also acted as a design consultant for Honda, designing their first car for the western market. Throughout his career, he was active as both an artist and an industrial designer, designing numerous functional items.
In the later 1960s and early 1970s, his style evolved to a more condensed set of geometric shapes. The flattened and folded circles and rectangles combined to create interlocking three-dimensional sculptures and fountains. He began working with industrial metals and painted steel and produced numerous commission-based sculpture.
Notable design commissions include Temple De Hirsch Sinai and the Large sculpture for the Kennedy Memorial Library at Eastern Washington University. One of his most prominent public works is “Park Sculpture” at Seattle Central Community College. In the last decade of his life, he created wood carvings, many based on Northwest Native designs.
Cascadia is also extending three exhibitions, Dreaming Forms: The Art of Leo Kenney, Stolen Moments: The Photography of Shedrich Williames, and Gifts and Promised Gifts to the Museum’s Permanent Collection until May 23, 2021.
The Sculpture of Charles W. Smith (1922-2009)
Feb. 4 – Nov. 7, 2021
Cascadia Art Museum
190 Sunset Ave. S.
Open Thursday-Sunday, noon-5 p.m.
Learn more at www.cascadiaartmuseum.org.