Audrey Smith
Audrey Smith at work in her Mississauga studio.

Guest Artist Audrey Smith’s “In the Light of Change”

The Colborne Art Gallery
May 28 to July 3, 2016
Opening Reception: Saturday, May 28 to July 3, 2:00 – 4:00 pm

Occasionally a painting can stop me! This is what happened when I entered The Colborne Art Gallery’s Juried Show in 2014 to see Audrey Smith’s 60-inch-tall piece titled, “Vulnerable.” My response was visceral—because it was a life-sized painting of a young woman, sitting on a chair and baring her soul. The composition of the piece was dynamic. No wonder it won the Juror’s Prize that year!

You can imagine my pleasure in learning that Audrey Smith will be the feature guest artist at The Colborne Art Gallery at the end of May this year. I had a sneak peek at some of the pieces she’ll be showing. I was struck by the similarity to “Vulnerable” in the depiction of youthful figures, glowing luminously. These are pieces that tell a story.

I asked Audrey Smith why she so often chooses young women for her subjects, to which she replied, “I like depicting youth because the work is about change. They are still in a creation phase of life.”

One example is the work titled, “Many First Steps.” Here Smith offers multiple iterations of her subject’s feet. The steps move forward, stop and move forward again. The figure seems to be thinking and rethinking her transitions and decisions. This multiplicity of images animates the young woman—the extra feet taking steps reveal the stop-start process of becoming an adult.

Painting keeps Audrey Smith in that youthful state of inquiry, too. Her paint application matches her subject matter, revealing a process of deciding, changing her mind, then moving forward again. In short, it keeps the imagery fresh. Her painted surfaces are expressive with thinner and thicker areas. Some are scrubbed away to reveal a drawing or earlier decision underneath. Paint is sometimes thickly applied and confident and at other times, cautious.

Smith studied Art and Psychology at Concordia University and worked many years as a graphic designer. She has devoted recent years to full-time painting in her Mississauga studio. Her works for this show include several other narrative figure pieces and some intriguing studies of hands.

Don’t miss the exhibition “In the Light of Change,” which opens on Saturday May 28, with a reception from 2:00 – 4:00 pm. Audrey Smith will be giving a short artist’s talk and there will be displays of art by gallery member artists. All are welcome, admission is free and the gallery is wheelchair accessible. The exhibit runs from May 28 through July 3, 2016 at The Colborne Art Gallery, 51 King Street East, Colborne, Ontario. Regular gallery hours are Thursday through Sunday, 12 noon to 5:00 pm. For more information, please visit or phone 905-355-1798.

– Annie McDonald

Scenes from the Opening Reception

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Northumberland Today – Colborne Art Gallery exhibits continue to July 3