July 09, 2020

Ka’ila Farrell-Smith’s recent works explore movement and painting as performance. Music plays an important role influencing the flow and palate of the artist’s practice, and an album that has frequented her studio is We are the Halluci Nation by a Tribe Called Red. Of particular importance is the poetry and lyrics of the late John Trudell in the track A Lie Nation (featuring Lido Pimiento and Tanya Tagaq), in which these new paintings are informally, yet directly rooted.

The Halluci Nation
The human beings
The people see the spiritual in the natural
Through sense and feeling
Everything is related
All the things of earth and in the sky have spirit
Everything is sacred
Confronted by the alienation
The subjects and the citizens see the material religions through trauma and numb
Nothing is related
All the things of the earth and in the sky have energy to be exploited
Even themselves, mining their spirits into souls, sold
Into nothing is sacred not even their self
The A Lie Nation, the alienation
                                                                   -John Trudell

Making A Better Painting: Thinking Through Practice

January 23, 2020

MAKING A BETTER PAINTING: Thinking Through Practice Exhibit and Symposium

Exhibition: January 23rd to March 15, 2020, Hoffman Gallery, Lewis & Clark College

Symposium: Friday March 6 through Saturday March 7, 2020, Lewis & Clark College


Organizing Committee:
Cara Tomlinson, Associate Professor of Art, Lewis & Clark College, Elise Richman, Professor of Art, University of Puget Sound, Cynthia Camlin, Associate Professor of Art, Western Washington University Tia Factor, Instructor BFA+ Painting, Portland State University, Sylvan Lionni, Assistant Professor of Art, University of Oregon, Amy Chaloupka, Curator, Whatcom Museum, Bellingham, WA. Kevin Bell, Director, School of Art, University of Montana


Making A Better Painting seeks to spark dialogue among regional artists and theorists about painting practices today and respond to new and pressing questions. How does painting’s immediacy of materials and the human hand react to the mediated world we live in? How do painters today reckon with the material, historical, environmental and psychological costs of their production? How do we reconcile artistic practice with political engagement? A collaborative effort among artists from multiple institutions across the PNW, Making a Better Painting presents these questions as a starting point for broad and diverse conversations among regional artists, academics and curators. A two-month exhibition of the same title at the Hoffman Gallery on the Lewis & Clark campus includes Washington, Oregon and Montana painters and serves as the centerpiece and context for the symposium.


February 06, 2020


February 2020


Works on Paper 2017-2019

K A ' I L A  F A R R E L L  -  S M I T H

Works on paper from residencies at UCROSS and Crow's Shadow, in collaboration with Master Printer Judith Baumann.

Blue Sky Gallery 

122 NW 8th Avenue, Portland OR 97209
Free admission | Open 12pm-5pm Tuesday— Sunday*
*closed Tuesday + Wednesday between exhibitions, prior to 1st Thursday

Featured work:

Alien Invasion, 1492

five-color lithograph
Collaborating Master Printer Judith Baumann
30 x 22.25 inches
edition of 18
$800 each

Full documentation is provided with each print. Shipping and handling are extra.


November 01, 2019

Portraiture from the Collection of Northwest Art

Nov 2, 2019 – Aug 2021

Main Building, Floor 3, Gallery 302, 304, 305, & 306

In the rich tradition of portraiture reflected in Northwest art, there is an exemplary range of individuals and styles of depiction. For this exhibition, the artist Storm Tharp was invited to help select works from the collection through his keen eyes as a fellow portraitist. As he combed through the collection, some themes in portraiture rose to the surface: the self-portrait, artists and friends, family, psychological space, and making present those who have been less recognized. For an artist, capturing a literal likeness is far less important than grasping the essence of a person or the moment in time. How artists in this collection have chosen to do this is remarkably varied, offering an alluring examination in itself. Across the themes and styles in this exhibition, it is evident that portraiture allows for a breadth of expressiveness, a scrutiny of the self, and the occasion to connect with those around us.

Curated by Storm Tharp in collaboration with Grace Kook-Anderson, The Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Curator of Northwest Art.


Ka'ila Farrell-Smith

American, Klamath, and Modoc, born 1982

Predecessor Bundle

Acrylic, oil on vintage IAIA plastic banner


Courtesy of the artist, L2019.58.1

Predecessor Bundle is a painting created in a series of four vintage banners from the Institute of American Indian Arts (IAIA). This piece was created while in residence at IAIA in Santa Fe, NM for a month in 2017. In the studio there was a large collection of vintage student banners promoting student exhibitions dating back to the 1970's. This specific painting highlights a student work including the images of 1970's IAIA students featured in the imagery. I was not able to find details as to who these students were, but some of the current IAIA students I had studio visits knew some of the artists featured in this piece. I was responding to the location, palate, and energy of decades of American Indian artists who have gone through this unique programming and art institution. I felt steeped in legacy and the diversity of Indigenous artists who've created a historical art centre. This painting reflects the connection and inspiration artists give to one another, specifically how important it is to share marks, imagery, and memory of the artists who came before us, paving the way to our freedom of expression and creative mark making. This piece honors Indigenous artists as our visual predecessors, highlighting the fluidity Native artists bring between tradition and contemporary cultures.

-Ka'ila Farrell-Smith

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© 2020, Ka'ila Farrell-Smith.