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by Shirley Thomson-Smith

Dimensions: 27 x 18 x 16
Gift of the artist, 2006

Rosa by Shirley Thomson-Smith

The Artwork

Shirley Thomson-Smith's Rosa depicts a young seated Hopi woman. In the artist's work, she strives to depict a moment of quiet contemplation. Through focus on form over detail, she guides the viewer's eyes to the young woman's sculpted face which is confident and at peace. The woman's posture combined with the detail on the leg reinforces the young woman's relaxed state of being.

The Artist

Born in St. Louis, Shirley Thomson-Smith moved to Oklahoma City when she was five and that is where she remained nearly her entire life. Thomson-Smith studied art at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma City University. Her art is heavily influenced by time she spent in Durango, Colorado where she developed a strong admiration for the resilience and strength of Navajo women. She also found inspiration from Mexican, African, and American Indian art as well as trips through New Mexico. Thomson-Smith does not work from models and instead relies heavily on imagination. Using flowing lines and simplified anatomy, she works for visual movement to evoke emotion.

Thomson-Smith's early work were made of pressed clay through a labor-intensive and seldom used processes in which the artist would push inside a clay mold. When the pieces were removed from the mold, each one had to be individually finished. With age, Thomson-Smith came to prefer working in bronze as it was less physically demanding. Through the years as her work has grown more stylized and sophisticated, her basic impulse to celebrated women has remained the same.

Her work is in several prestigious collections included the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of Hollywood, Florida, the Richard and Adeline Fleischaker Collections of the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art at the University of Oklahoma, and the Frederick Meijer Garden Collection of Grand Rapids, Michigan. She has also shown her work in more than 100 exhibitions, and her work has appeared in several national and regional publications.