Past Exhibit - Drawings by Marjorie and Aj
(Main Lobby Area, Mullins Library
The University Libraries are proud to host an exhibit of drawings created by Marjorie Williams-Smith and Aj Smith, both professors of art at UALR. Viewing these works of artistic expression might well inspire one to admire the successful dynamics of marriage. The two artists, each with a separate and technically accomplished style, form together a harmonic medley that pleases the viewer’s eye and sensibilities.
Williams-Smith creates works of ethereal beauty using metalpoint, a slow, unforgiving drawing technique that flourished during the Renaissance. Williams-Smith’s delicate renderings of roses, daffodils and carnations are drawn with silver, copper, and gold styluses on gesso-coated paper, a delicate medium that she says “adds to the peaceful and reflective qualities I try to present in my work.” Williams-Smith even uses smoke as a drawing medium in two of the exhibited works, “Whisper to One” and “In the Spirit,” a technique that lends an ephemeral, elvish quality to these pieces.
While Williams-Smith’s delicate drawings require a close inspection to reveal their intricacies, Aj Smith’s forceful works can create an impact from several yards away. Smith, a master printer, utilizes various printmaking techniques to create his works, which often overlay graphite drawings with a lithograph print, or vice versa, like the “Calm Series” drawings, portraits of children overlaid with countless multi-color squiggles that rain down on the unsuspecting children’s heads.
“ Lil’ Kim” and “LeMont” are examples of Smith’s latest interest, large-scale portraits of children done in graphite pencil. In these portraits, Smith says he hopes “to show something of the individual’s true inner self: that side of one’s personality that is often held secure behind the external façade presented during casual encounters.”
Marjorie Williams-Smith’s work has been exhibited on the East Coast and throughout the mid-south region. Her work is included in private and public collections, and most recently Ms. Williams-Smith created art work for the United States Mint which served as the design for the Congressional Medal honoring the "Little Rock Nine." Aj Smith is recognized for an extensive exhibition record to include national and international venues and is included in WHO'S WHO IN AMERICAN ART, 24th Edition. His work is represented in public and private collections throughout the United States and China, including the United States Library of Congress, Arkansas Arts Center Foundation, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.