H. Lane Smith Retrospective: ‘The Joy and Discovery of Painting’

Posted:  Monday, September 11, 2017 - 10:45am

Story Location:
53 Townsend Avenue
Boothbay Harbor  Maine  04538
United States

Lane Smith studied at Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) after serving in the Army in World War II. He started teaching drawing and painting at RISD in the mid 1950s and continued there until his retirement in 1988.

"It's been more than 50 years since Heidi and I started at RISD, and Lane Smith died almost 20 years ago, but here we are wandering around in our own Boothbay Harbor art gallery learning from Lane Smith again!," Terry said.

This is a retrospective show of Lane's work that we've put together with enormous help from Lane's widow, Joyce, and further assistance from recently retired RISD Professor Bill Newkirk.

There are over 60 pieces of Lane's work including watercolors, oils, ink, charcoal and pencil drawings, and monoprints. Virtually all the work is representational, be it landscape, still life, nude figures, or whatever. Lane clearly enjoyed all this visual stimuli and always managed to bring joy into everything he did. These are certainly not just academic exercises.

Regarding the mediums utilized, all of them were in play during his entire career. He had an affinity for all of them and didn't go for using any one of them exclusively for extended periods. He used whatever worked best for a given situation throughout his career.

Lane clearly loved to travel and paint/draw what he saw and experienced. The work in the show dates from the late 1940's up to almost his death in 1999. Lane didn't often sign or date his work. We think he was having too much fun doing it to bother.

Lane Smith's work is notable for its effective use of negative space, for an arresting variety of line, and for sophisticated color choices throughout both subtle and bold ranges. An avid gardener, his florals are an example of these qualities put to use in a surprising symmetrical format, which, foremost, relied on his effective use of the negative space.

The large triptych was done in the 1990s from memory of a certain kind of plant that grew in southern Rhode Island where, in wife Joyce's words, they had "a vacation shack."

See Lane Smith's retrospective show at Studio 53 Fine Art now through October.

Studio 53 is located at 53 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor and is open 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through September. For more information, call the gallery: 633-2755 and visit www.studio53fineart.com to learm more about the artist collective with works on the second and third floors of the gallery.