Leon Polk Smith's Circle in the Square, 1970

Leon Polk Smith
Circle in the Square, 1970

Painting

Acrylic on canvas

105 x 35 in

Unique

Installed 105 x 35 in

Each panel 35 x 35 in

“In the 1960s and early 70s, Leon Polk Smith created abstract paintings characterized by intense colors and unique groupings of shaped canvases. In Circle in the Square (1970), for example, three square canvases with rounded edges are stacked one on top of another. Their target-like images have the boldness of icons. The work is dynamic, with foregrounds and backgrounds appearing to shift and change places. It is uncertain whether the orange square with rounded corners in the center of the middle canvas exists in front of or behind the white area that surrounds it. There is a ‘Pop’ lightness and humor to the work. Growing up as a Native American in Oklahoma, Smith had no exposure to Old Master painting or vanguard Modern art, but he did copy comics from the newspapers, and the circular motifs at the top and bottom of Circle in the Square can read as the friendly and insightful eyes of a cartoon robot. And then there is the possibility that this stacked work made up of discrete forms represents something more serious – a spiritual totem of some kind, an oblique or even unconscious reference to Smith’s Indian heritage.”

– Lynn Zelevansky, curator of forthcoming Leon Polk Smith exhibition at Lisson Gallery New York, 2020

Installed 105 x 35 in

Each panel 35 x 35 in

“In the 1960s and early 70s, Leon Polk Smith created abstract paintings characterized by intense colors and unique groupings of shaped canvases. In… more

© Leon Polk Smith Foundation