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View of “Barbara T. Smith,” 2016. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

Barbara T. Smith

The Box

View of “Barbara T. Smith,” 2016. Photo: Fredrik Nilsen.

Expanding on her previous three shows at the Box, each of which offered a tight grouping of related work (early paintings, performance documentation, and experiments with incipient Xerox technology, respectively), Barbara T. Smith sought in her most recent exhibition to expose underlying connections between disparate projects. This broad and generous installation made clear the extent to which the exhibition’s titular “Words, Sentences & Signs” provide not only a through line between discrete series spanning from the 1960s to the present, but also a metering of communicative acts relative to the full length of a life. Smith admits as much in the show’s press release, stating: “This collection is a portrayal of the life of a human/woman over a span of time.” The ongoing “collection”—would-be sentences of stones and shells tidily lined up on boards or arranged into an exclamation

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