Levi Smith

The Artist

The artist in his studio

Artist's Statement

I first began painting seriously as a college student in Vermont more than thirty years ago. My paintings then, as now, were inspired both by the power of abstract art, and by a desire to capture emotions aroused by places and people.

Sometimes I begin with a feeling and create a place or object to embody it. Sometimes I begin with a place or object and the painting is done when the emotion comes through. Still, my paintings are not finished until I have lived with them a while. They are meant to be lived with. If they work, they sustain and encourage the viewer's contemplation. They become familiar, but they remain surprising.

I live in Chicago, am married to Paola Smith, a physician, and have two children. I teach in the department of Art History, Theory and Criticism and the department of Visual and Critical Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and lecture frequently for the Department of Museum Education at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Biographical Information

Levi Smith, (b.1952) grew up in Vermont. He studied studio art at Phillips Academy, Andover and at the University of Vermont. An art historian by profession (M.A. and Ph.D., The University of Chicago) he has continued to pursue his painting, beginning to exhibit frequently in 1999.

His works range from compositions done in front of the subject, to more abstract compositions created in the studio from remembered experience. He works in a variety of media including paintings in oil, watercolor or acrylic, and drawings in charcoal, graphite or ink.


  • Small Works Invitational Show, Prince Street Gallery, NY, NY, June 15-July 5, 2008.
  • ARTwork V, (Art by employees of The Art Institute of Chicago), Gallery 2, Chicago, February, 2008.
  • Wish You Were Here! (An exhibit of work by Ox-Bow Artists in Residence), Holland Area Arts Council, MI, November-December, 2007.
  • Homage to Fairfield Porter, A Centennial Celebration, (Group Show) ,North Shore Art League, Winnetka Community House, February, 2007.
  • Mining Diamonds, (3-person show with Barbara Fitzpatrick and Mark Krisco), The Almquist Gallery, North Shore Country Day School, Winnetka, Il, January-February, 2007.
  • Landscapes, a two-man show with Mark Krisco, Gallery of the University Club of Chicago, November-December, 2002.
  • The 4th Annual Chicago Art Open, 2001, Chicago Artists Coalition, October, 2001.
  • Face Off, a group exhibition, Betty Rymer Gallery, SAIC, March-May, 2001.