I purchased this painting by Lois Gross Smiley (1925-2018) out of the studio of her estate in Wellesley, MA. Born in New York City in 1925, Smiley attended the Dalton School in New York, where she studied under Mexican muralist Rufino Tamayo and the abstract expressionist Vaclav Vytlacil. Smiley went on to major in painting at Sarah Lawrence College where she received her BA in 1946, studying art history under German expressionist Kurt Roesch and printmaking with Stanley William Hayter and Bill Paden. Smiley painted and drew throughout her life, primarily in an expressionistic style, with subjects including landscapes, still lives and figures. In addition to painting, she worked at the Hudson River Museum, Yonkers as the Assistant Curator of Exhibitions from 1970-1973 and taught drawing and painting in various New York studios from 1964-1990.
I'd guess this unsigned painting on a heavyweight paper/light cardstock dates to the 1970s or so, and features graphite, watercolor, and a few strokes of a thicker white paint--plus remnants of scotch tape in two places along the top edge. With its two nude figures facing in opposite directions, it seems perhaps a portrait of the dynamics of a relationship, with these thin black threads tethering the two together. Or perhaps it is a self-portrait, reflecting conflicting instincts, or past and future. I really love its moodiness and elusiveness, and also how much it feels so much of a certain moment in time and consciousness.
14" wide x 11" tall and in very good condition, with some aging to the paper, a few smudges along the edges, and some spotting just on the back.