Exhibit brings nostalgia to viewers

Lauren Fedorovich, Staff Writer

Artist Shelley Smith paints missed opportunities.

In her art, scenes depicting situations where people walk past a place and never give it a second glance are the subject of the exhibition “More Sights Often Seen, Rarely Noticed” held in Roberta’s Art Gallery in the University Center.

The exhibit consists of oil paintings in vivid colors that shine a light on places not usually thought of as beautiful. Old barbershops, forgotten factories and highway tunnels are among the imagery that demands her artistic expression.

“I’m drawn to things for their history, irony and isolation,” Smith said.

Smith, a Milwaukee-native, has previously lived in Florida and Colorado where she took inspiration from the various places she’s lived and applied that energy to her artwork in the exhibit. She also takes inspiration from the places she’s visited like California, New Mexico and Illinois. Smith said she takes her camera everywhere she travels in case inspiration strikes.

Smith said she’s attracted to history and paints antiquated places with bright colors as a way to go back in time and see what they were like their heyday. Smith said she has always done art and her mother told her she understood colors before she could talk.

The art was “beautiful, absolutely beautiful,” said senior Amber Kimme, who works for the University Center and often supports for art gallery events. “I love the vibrant colors.”  

UC Arts manager Chloe Rettinger said some exhibit viewers recognized places in the paintings, and that brought back memories for them.

“It’s evoking that nostalgia that goes with each place,” Rettinger said.

The exhibit ran until Oct. 30, but Smith’s artwork can be viewed on her website atspunkybohemian.com.

Next up in Roberta’s Art Gallery is “Back in the World: A Living Legacy of Vietnam, WWII, and Korea Through the Lens of Jim Gil,” an exhibit featuring portraits of Wisconsin war veterans that starts on Nov. 1.