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Exhibition runs through February 12, 2021

Hawthorn Contemporary is pleased to announce the opening of We Still Play With Blocks: Paintings from 2014-17 featuring Madison, Wisconsin based painter Leslie Smith III. We Still Play With Blocks: Paintings from 2014-17 accumulates three years of work from Smith highlighting an abstract language through the use of non-traditional shaped canvas and the converging of multiple panels. 

Smith’s unconventional approach to painting challenges the canons of contemporary abstraction. Fracturing the singular canvas into multiple connected canvases, Smith re-adjusts the viewer’s pictorial sensibilities. The individual shapes of each canvas creates both tension and connectivity within the work and gives space for interpretation from the viewer. This innovative method to the two dimensional surface cultivates emotion and understanding into interpersonal relationships which “mediates meaningful experiences by fostering curiosity and anxiety in questioning how to approach it.” 

Leslie Smith III is an oil-based painter. His studio practice is centered on employing abstraction to communicate the poetics and nuance of a human experience. Smith received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the Maryland Institute College of Art and received his Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Art. Smith exhibits both national and internationally.


Recent exhibitions include paintings at the Museum of Contemporary Art Denver and solo exhibitions with Maus Contemporary in Birmingham, AL and Galerie Isabelle Gounod in Paris, France. His work can be found in the permanent collection of the High Museum of Art and the Virginia Museum of Fine Art. Smith is an Associate Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 


Hawthorn Contemporary, located in the historic Walker’s Point neighborhood in Milwaukee, Wisconsin is an art venue dedicated to presenting experimental and exploratory contemporary art. 

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