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‘Joys, Sorrows, Concerns’ Surveys the Artistic Career of Holy Cross Visual Arts Professor Susan Schmidt

March 4th, 2020 by 
Degree of Impact, 2017. Polymer plate, etching, and stencil

Degree of Impact, 2017. Polymer plate, etching, and stencil

The Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Art Gallery at the College of the Holy Cross is delighted to celebrate the career of Professor Susan Schmidt in the exhibition “Joys, Sorrows, Concerns” from March 9 through April 10, 2020. An opening reception will take place on Wednesday, March 11 from 5 to 7 p.m., with remarks by the artist at 5:30 p.m. The exhibition will feature drawings, prints, and artists’ books representing the span of her artistic output.

As a faculty member of the department of visual arts for over thirty years, Schmidt has taught courses in printmaking, bookmaking and drawing, mediums that she herself has consistently explored throughout her studio practice. The keen focus of her artistic eye has been, largely, on examinations of family life, with, as she states, “its varied and unbounded configurations and its power to bind us together, as well as tear us apart.”

Schmidt works from the traditions of observational drawing expanded by the possibilities of printmaking. Her early work involved drawing on site and responding to particular physical spaces. She was interested in the expressive quality of the space and the immediacy of drawing on site. With printmaking, she fully exploits the process inherent in “the making” of imagery by layering, recycling and combining the traditional with new techniques and materials.

Throughout her career, she has adeptly moved between creating oversized drawings to small-scale intimate prints, to smaller-still artists’ books, which have been particularly fitting as objects to address themes of contemporary childhood, and as a vehicle for her interest in folktales as the basis of work exploring the roles of parents and children.

Describing her current work, Schmidt says, “I am interested in the ways that drawing allows us to consider current social issues differently than the way we see them on screens. A slower, more imaginative response to crisis. In my most recent print installation ‘Joys, Sorrows, Concerns,’ I was thinking about the many problems people seeking asylum in the U.S. face, and my prints portray human beings within that system, suspended and uncertain.”

Schmidt is a skillful and patient mentor to her students who has taught countless Holy Cross students – many of whom have gone on to artistic careers of their own. She quietly conveys her inspirations as an artist to her students while working in the Millard Studios. Schmidt says, “Following one idea to another, leading to an unknown outcome, is an uncertain process, discouraging, irrational, and in small moments truly exciting. This is why I make art and in particular chose the improvisational strategies of printmaking.”

Schmidt will give a gallery talk and printmaking demonstration in the gallery during the exhibition, and Holy Cross scholars Susan Elizabeth Sweeney and Jorge Santos, both of the English Department, will also give lunchtime talks at noon.



Opening Reception

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Cantor Art Gallery 5 – 7 p.m.

Opening remarks at 5:30 p.m.


“Monotype, The Painterly Print”

Demonstration of monotype printing by artist Susan Schmidt

Thursday, April 2

Cantor Art Gallery, 4 p.m.


Lunchtime Talk Series

Tuesdays at 12 noon

Cantor Art Gallery


March 17

Susan Schmidt, Artist

“Joys, Sorrows & Concerns”


March 24

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney, Monsignor Murray Professor in Arts and Humanities

English Department, College of the Holy Cross

“Reading Books and Seeing Art”


April 7

Jorge Santos, Associate Professor, English Department, College of the Holy Cross

“Photo-graphic Borderlands”


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