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Hughie Lee-Smith: An American Artist

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His name suggests a Delta blues singer, but Hughie Lee-Smith is a painter of realistic, yet surreal, scenes. In fact, the blues he knows best are the deep, cerulean tones that tint the skies of his mysterious landscapes, places hard to define in space and time, where people, black and white, appear in situations that are as ambiguous and vivid as inexplicable dreams. Here manikins and humans share a mythic region where middle America meets the Mediterranean, in dwellings with Roman arches looking out on to plazas where the circus has seemingly just passed, leaving little in its wake but balloons and colorful traces, echoes of cheers and laughter, and some somnambulistic stragglers now united in their silence and solitude. Born in Florida in 1915, Hughie Lee-Smith is a unique, senior figure in contemporary African American art.

Through Aug. 30

Stella Jones Gallery, 201 St. Charles Ave., 568-0840

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