|WE ALL LEAD DIFFERENT LIVES
Hughie Lee-Smith - Boy with a Tire (1952)
Winslow Homer - Boys in a Pasture (1874)
Among its many functions, art serves as a visual record of the vast diversity of human existence. Stretching back
over time and across cultural lines, people the world over have always used the language of art to describe their
lives, and we can learn much about them by simply looking at what they create. What we often learn is that though
we are all very much the same in many ways, we may be very different in the ways we live -- either by choice or
Winslow Homer and Hughie Lee-Smith were each, in their own ways, painters of the American experience -- but
when we compare their works, it is evident that this "experience" differed for each of them. Over 135 years ago,
Winslow Homer painted Boys in a Pasture, capturing a slice of life in rural America in the 1870’s that was
reminiscent of his own happy boyhood in the country. Decades later, black artist Hughie Lee-Smith painted Boy
with a Tire. The setting here is a run-down inner city neighborhood not unlike the one in which he was raised, and
in the center of the canvas a boy stands alone, seeming to pause for a moment to stare warily back at the viewer.
We can see in these works obvious contrasts -- between country and city life, and between companionship and
aloneness. But each work succeeds in making us want to know more about its subjects: who are these boys, what
would they tell us about themselves if they could -- and what kinds of lives can we imagine they lead?
In this session of GalleryTime, we consider the lives depicted in these works, and depict something of our lives as
well in our artwork.
Boys in a Pasture Boy with a Tire