201811 More or Less: Liz Smith & Katherine Strause

201811 More or Less: Liz Smith & Katherine Strause

Nov. 9, 2018

For many years, Liz Smith added surface treatments at every phase during the construction of her functional ceramic forms. She identified with the term horror vacui, fear of empty space, altering and decorating each piece with floral transfers, layers of glaze, carving, and other processes until she attended to the entire surface. Recently, Smith has pulled back from a more-is-more approach. For example, by producing vase forms intended for only one flower, Smith’s work encourages viewers to focus on the beauty of a single thing. Liz Smith attended Skidmore College and received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Louisiana State University in 2000. She has served as Associate Professor of fine arts at University of Central Arkansas since 2001.

Katherine Strause doesn’t worry much about restraint. Her paintings based on found photographs of women are bursting with exuberance. Bright colors, swirling patterns, and staccato brushwork emphasize content alluding to the possibility of female self-reliance and rebellion against antiquated social norms. Strause’s paintings are extremely energetic, filled with wild hope for the individuals she depicts. Her subjects are free to be themselves— jumping, laughing, unself-consciously consumed by the moment. Strause was raised in Conway and went to college at University of Arkansas at Little Rock before completing a Master of Fine Arts degree at Southern Illinois University in 1992. She became UALR’s first artist in residence in 1999, and in 2008 she was named chair of the Art Department at Henderson State University in Arkadelphia.

Left:Sidewalk Jump Rope by Katherine Strause.
Right: Floral Jar by Liz Smith.

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More or Less: Liz Smith & Katherine Strause