Printmaker shares experiences that led to a life in art

To an overcrowded room in the fine arts building, visiting artist, professor and publisher Sarah Smelser lectured on her life as an artist.

Smelser began printmaking in college and spent summers printing for other artists in New York City and is currently an associate professor of intaligo printmaking at Illinois State University.

“I always loved the delay of printmaking, where you don’t really know what your getting until you pull the paper up and see,” Smelser said.

Smelser described her work as quirky images as a reaction to basic, conventional forms in printmaking. Often using the same plates but reacting to them in different ways, subtle patterns can be seen in much of her work.

“It’s a very contemporary, popular style.” said Ruth Snyder, senior, who attended last night’s lecture.

Others have given her work such varied descriptions as elegant, poetic, clumsy, flawed, and pure.

Smelser’s work has taken her across the country and to Europe, most notably with residencies at the Frans Masereel Centrum in Kasterlee, Belgium and the Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, California.

She received her master’s degree in fine arts from the University of Iowa and her bachelor’s degree in printmaking from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

In 2000, Smelser and her husband founded Manneken Press, which has served as a fine art print studio and publisher in Bloomington, Illinois.

Today there will be an opening reception for Smelser’s “Collected Verses: Recent Monoprints” at the Hudson Gallery at 4645 N. Main St. in Sylvania from 7 to 9 p.m.

The exhibit runs through Nov. 30.