Mary T. Smith

(1904-1995) Hazlehurst, MS

Around 1975 Mary Tillman Smith began cutting up and painting on sheets of roofing tin which her son had intended to use for a shed. Portraits of neighbors, Jesus, assorted animals and plant forms appear in her work, sometimes accompanied by text. Paintings and assemblages formed a large outdoor environment on her property, located on busy Highway 51 on the south end of Hazlehurst. But it is a common misconception that all of the early work was done on metal; many early works were executed on found wood. She began using plywood panels (often new pre-cut pieces that collectors would bring her, or that she would buy at a local lumberyard) more often as demand for her work increased; at the same time, age-related health issues made working with metal more difficult, though it was used in some of the later work. She stopped painting around 1991.


Summertime: Hot When IT's Hot Like This

ca. 1985

17" x 24"

enamel and whitewash on tin



untitled(THREE BUSTS)

ca. 1984

13.5" x 18.5"

enamel and whitewash on found steel panel



untitled(Self-portrait w/christ)

ca. 1984

16" x 24"

enamel on masonite




ca. 1987

22" x 26.5"

enamel on steel panel