The upcoming exhibit in the Indiana University East art gallery will be “The Works of Mike Elsass” on display now through July 2. The Gallery exhibit features the Ohio based artist’s abstract and weathered steel paintings that represent strength, life’s elements, aging, imperfection and beauty.
Elsass became a painter after a career in the insurance industry. Though mostly self-taught, he acknowledges Roger Sayre as his mentor. Sayre, a nationally prominent steel artist, showed Elsass the potential of steel as a surface and urged him to experiment with it.
Elsass moved forward creating his surface by sanding and rusting the sheets of metal, then applying multiple layers of paint, both transparent and opaque finishes. In his technique of painting, sponging, and sanding, the steel work of art evolves until the final coating. It is these processes with the metal and its imperfections that add to the textural beauty of each unique piece.
His work is shown both nationally and internationally. Elsass’ work is represented in 19 galleries across the nation and in Singapore. Most recently Elsass was selected to participate in the Architectural Digest Home Show in New York City, March 2010.
Elsass said his passion for life and his travels are also expressed in his body of work. He often takes the steel on the road with him, stopping by the side of the road when inspired. Many of his series were painted on the road such as “Crawfish and Lipstick” created with the backdrop of the Bayous of Louisiana. His spirit lives on the road as he draws energy from nature and life. The Arizona desert and the Kentucky countryside blend his art. When home from the road he can be found painting daily in either his Ohio country barn loft and studios on Easy Avenue or his Front Street studio in Dayton, Ohio.
Visitors are welcome to view the exhibit during gallery hours, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For more information, call Ed Thornburg, gallery curator, at (765) 973-8605.