An art exhibit of original prints created by Sarah Smelser, associate professor of art at Illinois State University, will be on display Feb. 24-March 21 in the upper level of the Center for Faith and Life on the Luther College campus.
Smelser's works are about an abstract sensibility; referencing cartography, the body and cycles in nature. She draws heavily upon personal experience, songs she has heard, private jokes, anecdotes and poems, when creating her works.
Smelser also creates based on a curiosity about how forms speak to one another. Her works, which feature simplistic shapes and mundane objects, rely on the use of contrast, balance and organizing space to create a specific sense about them. Each form can be seen as fast or slow, solid or meditative, or fall into a variety of different camps. The imagery itself is intended to serve as a conversation, treading the line between elegant and awkward, deliberate and intuitive, and skilled and naïve.
Smelser teaches beginning drawing, relief, monotype and intaglio at Illinois State University. She has also held teaching positions at University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, Pasadena City College and West Virginia University. She has been an artist in residence at a number of institutions, including the Vermont Studio Center; the Franz Masereel Center in Kasterlee, Belgium; and Artica in Bilbao, Spain.
Smelser's works have been featured in numerous solo and group exhibits, as well as reviewed in publications such as "Art on Paper: The Journal of Prints, Drawings and Photography" and "Abstract Art Online."
In 2000, Smelser and her husband co-founded Manneken Press, a fine art print publishing venture based in Bloomington, Ill. She has also acted as president of the Mid America Print Council, a national non-profit organization of artist printmakers and educators.
Smelser holds a bachelor's degree from the University of California-Santa Cruz and a Master of Arts degree and a Master of Fine Arts degree from the University of Iowa.