Sandler Hudson July 2017 Newsletter
Weir Farm Artist-in-Residence Exhibition/Reception: Michele Schuff
April 25, Wilton Library, Wilton, CT 6:30-7:30PM
April brings Michele Schuff to the Weir Farm Artist-in-Residence program. Co-sponsored by Weir Farm Art Center and Weir Farm National Historic Site and presented by Wilton Library. No charge. Registration suggested.
Spectrum 2015 Hunter Museum Annual Art Auction, Chattanooga, TN November 12 and 14
The Hunter Museum’s annual art auction and gala fundraiser, the Spectrum 2015 weekend kicks off Thursday evening, November 12 with cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres, and the Silent Auction. Two nights later, on Saturday evening, November 14, guests will enjoy cocktails, a full dinner, and the Live Auction.
B Complex Open Studios
Join us on May 17 to tour open studios, meet working painters, photographers, dancers, and sculptors and view their work in progress on Sunday May 17, 2015 from 1 to 5 p.m. Enjoy refreshments and explore the B Complex artists’ cooperative located in Capital View near Atlanta’s Historic West End. Free and open to the public.
We hope to see you there!
Participating artists include:
Susan Clifton- The Big Mask Project
Vernon Robinson Sr.
Cy Matthews Semrau
Cord Woodruff- Robots Love Deathrays
B COMPLEX OPEN STUDIO EVENT
Sunday May 17, 2015 from 1-5 PM
1272 Murphy Ave SW | Atlanta, GA | 30310
Grants to Green in Atlanta
Saturday February 1: Art Papers 15th Annual Art Auction + Party
Auction + Party Saturday February 1, 7 -10PM
ART PAPERS 15th Annual Art Auction + Party, featuring an impressive showcase of work by 250+ famed and emerging artists from around the world, proceeds from the silent auction benefit the award-winning programs of ART PAPERS.
This two-night event is the signature art party that kicks off Atlanta's art year. Please join us for collection-worthy art, great people watching, amazing music, a well-stocked bar, and complimentary bites and desserts provided by some of Atlanta's hottest restaurants.
Art Auction & Party: $45. Advance Tickets
Speed up your entry into the Auction and save $10 when you purchase your tickets online.
Collector's Preview: $175 / person
The Collector's Preview is a special evening for our host committee, sponsors, special VIPs, and artists who donate 100% of the proceeds from the sale of their work. This intimate evening is the perfect way to preview the art available at the Auction. New this year, all artworks will be available for sale Friday evening for full retail value plus 10%. - See more at: http://artpapers.org/auction/#sthash.ioCA9SIg.dpuf
The December Show
Whitespace Gallery: group show featuring small works by gallery artists
December 4 2013 through January 4 2014
The December Show
Whitespace Gallery: group show featuring small works by gallery artists
December 4 2013 through January 4 2014
LIGHT BREAKS: Works by Kamila Najbrtová, Michele Schuff and Silvia Sinha. Basel, Switzerland
Project Art Lounge is pleased to announce its first exhibition featuring the works of Kamila Najbrtová, Michele Schuff and Silvia Sinha.
November 16th, 4pm – November 17th, 6pm
In his poem “Light Breaks Where No Sun Shines,” Dylan Thomas refers to light as “glow-worms” or “tips of thought,” provoking images of light bulbs and candlesticks glowing in the darkness of night. These are the “things of light” that awaken our mind and body. Light is essential to the work of many artists and in this exhibit there is no exception. In the works of Silvia Sinha, Kamila Najbrtová and Michele Schuff we discover light in new and captivating ways.
Silvia Sinha is a master of light. Her painterly photographs capture the rays of light as they cast down upon, flood and disect their subject. Her photographs do not simply record. They explore, re-interpret and dissolve boundaries, opening new vistas of interpretation and visual pleasure.
Kamila Najbrtová draws you in to a deeper space. In her paintings, light is an invitation to look beyond the surface. The paint floats on a transparent canvas creating an effect that is both hypnotizing and stimulating. The vibrant colors and warmness of the wooden frames tantalize your senses.
Warmth is also what embodies the encaustic works of Michele Schuff. The glow of her sculptures and paintings conjure up thoughts and feelings of a kindled spirit. She, too, awakens body and soul, creating a state of consciousness where time, space and light melt together into one.
The exhibition LIGHT BREAKS is the first in a series of projects presented by Project Art Lounge, which supports artists to reach new audiences by leveraging the power of the digital world. Please stop by and let us know you are coming.
November 16th, 4pm – November 17th, 6pm
Davidsbodenstrasse 25, Basel, Switzerland
Vernissage and Exhibit on Saturday, November 16th, 4pm-10pm
VIP-Brunch on Sunday 12pm – 2pm (Invitation only)
Exhibit continues for the public on Sunday, November 17th, 2pm-6pm
Measure for Measure Encaustic Works by Michele Schuff
Senior curator brings new form of art to campus
Visiting artist Michele Schuff reveals her art in Blackbridge Gallery Hall as a part of Charlotte Maier’s senior capstone. Maier chose Schuff because of her use of encaustic in each of her pieces. -Photo credit: Brie Bergman
Walking into the white-walled halls of the Blackbridge Art Gallery , the constant beat of Michele Schuff’s internal metronome propels the spectator forward. The eye is drawn first to the bright yellow pieces on the left end of the hall, then to the deep blues on the other and finally to the neutrals, the browns, golds and greys, that lie in between.
The exhibit, “Measure for Measure”, is by Atlanta artist Michele Schuff, whose work has been featured in exhibits all over the world, and is curated by senior art major Charlotte Maier.
According to her artist statement, her inspiration for the works in the exhibition comes from time and different ways of measuring it, which she incorporates in her artwork through repetition and layering.
“I was kind of obsessed with the idea of a metronome,” Schuff said. “I wanted to examine the space that is created when one is fully focused on a creative endeavor and to tap into that state of mind. Time could be momentarily suspended in the gap between the beats; collectively these beats and gaps make up a body of work, a life, a collection of lives.”
The events in Schuff’s life at the time she was making this collection of works contributed to her obsession with time, or a lack there of.
“My mother was very ill when I started this body of work in 2011,” Schuff said. “Time became intense and precious. Staring at the heart monitor and wondering how many beats a heart can make- or if each of us has a finite number of beats- and wanting to make the most of the time we had seemed important.”
Schuff’s artwork is an exploration of a state of mind, achieved through complete concentration on a single creative task. All sense of time is lost, and the idea becomes all-consuming.
“I imagined a space outside of time might exist when one is entirely engaged in some kind of creative work- where everything drops away and that one can tap into a completely alive, creative state of consciousness where time becomes irrelevant,” Schuff said in her artist statement.
The exhibit consists of encaustic works and a single installation. Encaustic is an ancient art form used by the Greeks and Egyptians that involves a mixture of melted wax and pigment applied to a surface.
“The word encaustic means ‘to burn in,’” Schuff said. “The basic process involves layering the molten encaustic medium and infusing the layers of medium/paint to each proceeding layer with some form of heat- a tacking iron, blow torch, heat lamp.”
When considering different artists for her senior exhibition, Maier liked the idea of bringing some of Schuff’s encaustic works to Georgia College. According to Maier no encaustic works have been featured at
Georgia College before the “Measure for Measure” exhibit.
“I thought it would be good to bring in an artist that works with encaustic to GC, just to give people a kind of diversity,” Maier said.
Maier, as curator of the exhibit, has led the process of the event from start to finish, combining her art major and event planning skills.
“My role as curator was to find an artist to come to Georgia College and to pick out some works of theirs that we could make an exhibition with.” Maier said. “I researched a bunch of artists and then found my artist, Michele Schuff, contacted her, went on studio visits, and checked out the artwork.”
During installation week, Maier’s role was to hang and install the art and the light bulbs, following the exhibition through, from concept to construction. Besides her unique medium, Maier says she also chose Schuff as her artist for her style and use of color and texture.
“I really like [that] her work is minimalistic but it’s really, really intricate at the same time,” Maier said. “From far away it looks like there’s one color, but you get closer, and you see that there’s all these different colors emerging from the one color that you thought was it.”
Maier hopes the exhibition will bring in students that may not have an appreciation for art.
“I just want to get people in the door first of all and I think once people are in the door then they can start to experience that journey,” Maier said. “I want people to gain an appreciation for art, or, if they already have one, a deeper appreciation for art in general.”
The exhibition changed sophomore psychology major, Ashley Granchamp’s, views of art.
“It was interesting because it had a lot of different textures, which is weird to me because when I think of art, I don’t think texture. I think of paint on a canvas,” Grandchamp said.
Schuff’s goal with the exhibit is to inspire students to follow their own path and do what they love.
“I hope that students will be encouraged to stretch the boundaries of whatever medium they work in, and to make what they dream about making regardless of obstacles.,” Schuff said. “It would make me very happy if a student saw something in these works that inspired them, in any way.”
Measure for Measure, featuring Schuff’s encaustic pieces on time and space, runs from Sept. 23 to Oct. 18 in Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery.
Michele Schuff’s exhibit, “Measure for Measure,” features multiple works of art that represent the artists theme of the perception of time. One of Schuff’s inspirations is a metronome and the ways it measures beats. Her mom’s illness is another inspiration, so with the two combined she creates rhythm and repetition through her art that is emotional and resonating amongst viewers. -Photo credit: Brie Bergman
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Measure for Measure Encaustic Works by Michele Schuff
Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery Hosts Visiting Artist Michele Schuff
Measure for Measure, Encaustic Works by Michele Schuff
Exhibition Date: September 23-October 18, 2013
Art Reception: September 26, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Artist Talk: 6:00 p.m.
Location: Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery, Department of Art
MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga.- Blackbridge Hall Art Gallery is proud to present Measure for Measure, an exhibition produced by Atlanta based artist Michele Schuff. This exhibition showcases the artist’s encaustic works as well as a historical overview of the encaustic method while exploring a wide variety of applications of this technique such as paintings, panels, and sculptures. Schuff uses her works to depict elements of time and measurement by using repetition and layering within each piece.
The idea of metronomes is prevalent in many of Schuff’s works. In reference to this idea, Schuff said, “I imagined a space outside of time might exist when one is entirely engaged in some kind of creative work- where everything drops away and that one can tap into a completely alive, creative state of consciousness where time becomes irrelevant.”
Schuff’s ideas of time, light, and space are blended together within her works in a harmonious pattern that becomes both literally and figuratively melted together. These encaustic works take the psychological ideas of time and space and bring them into a vivid, visual reality. Schuff’s works use these ideas to encourage contemplation of our own personal and original living patterns while they become in tune with the patterns of the world around us.
Michele Schuff received a Bachelors of Arts from Wayne State University and a Masters of Fine Arts from Georgia State University.
Curated by Georgia College senior art major, Charlotte Maier, in fulfillment of her Museum Studies capstone thesis project.
Cost: Free and open to the public.
Contact information: Carlos Herrera, Gallery Coordinator. 478-445-7025
Works by Wendy DesChene & Jeff Schmuki, Rich Gere, and
The Hambidge Center, Rabun Gap, GA
June 22-September 2013
June 22 - September 14, 2013
Opening reception: Saturday June 22, 6-8pm
The nighttime darkness of rural places – including Hambidge – is often startling for those unused to it. Darkness can be magical and fearsome. It can heighten your senses, cause you to be introspective, to face fears, and it can make you crave light. For this exhibition, we have chosen Hambidge Fellows whose works incorporate light and darkness. Exhibiting artists are Wendy DesChene & Jeff Schmuki, Rich Gere, and Michele Schuff. We will also feature the work of several potters who make "shine" jugs (a rather different kind of light in the darkness), including Hugh Bridgeford, Colin Gray & Tasha Chemel and Tasha McKelvey.
Article: Ostsee Zeitung May 25/26, 2013
Ostsee Zeitung (Baltic Sea) News, May 25/26 2013
International Artists in Pluschow
By Knut-Henning Miersch
Das Mecklenburgisches Künstlerhaus in Plüschow beherbergt neue Stipendiaten.
Internationale Künstler in Plüschow
Kunstschaffende aus Österreich, Frankreich und den USA treffen sich im Rahmen eines Austauschprogramms im Mecklenburgischen Künstlerhaus. Dort können sie vier Wochen lang die Ateliers für eigene Projekte nutzen.
Von Knut-Henning Miersch
Michele Schuff ist Amerikanerin und kommt aus der Kleinstadt Austell im US-Bundesstaat Geor- gia. Obwohl sie in der Hauptstadt Atlanta Malerei studierte, arbei- tet die Künstlerin für gewöhnlich mit Wachs. Aus diesem Material produziert sie normalerweise Skulpturen, die sie dann auf Lein- wänden oder als Installation farb- lich arrangiert. Überhaupt stehen Farben und Farbübergänge bei der Amerikanerin besonders im Mittelpunkt. Da sie nur einen Bruchteil ihrer Werkzeuge nach Deutschland mitnehmen konnte, stellte das Austauschprogramm ei- ne große Herausforderung für sie dar.
„Vor der Zeit im Künstlerhaus Plüschow habe ich seit 20 Jahren nicht mehr mit Farbe auf Papier gemalt“, berichtet Schuff. Nicht zu wissen, was in Deutschland auf sie zukommen würde, habe sie fas- ziniert und zum umdenken ge- zwungen. Aus der materiellen Not machte sie eine Tugend. „Ich nutze meine Zeit in Mecklenburg nun bewusst dazu, mich von mei- nen normalen Projekten zu entfer- nen“, schildert die Künstlerin. Auf der Suche nach anderen Mög- lichkeiten, sich künstlerisch zu verwirklichen, kam sie zurück zur ihren Wurzeln. So arbeitet Schuff derzeit an einer Bilderserie aus Acrylfarben und an verschiede- nen Gipsfiguren.
Thematisch behandeln ihre Wer- ke den zeitlichen Verlauf und Ver-
Die Amerikanerin Michele Schuff sucht im Schloss Plüschow nach neuen künstlerischen Ausdrucksmöglichkeiten.
fall von Mensch und Natur und die Frage nach einem Danach. Was passiert mit der Energie eines Men- schen nach seinem Lebensende, das ist nur eine von vielen Fragen, die ihre aktuellen Werke beeinflus- sen. „Es geht um Verlust und um
die verwirrenden Gefühle, die da- mit zusammenhängen“, erklärt die Amerikanerin. Ein großer Teil ihrer Bilderserie zeigt schlüssellochähn- liche Motive, von denen ein helles Licht ausgeht. „Man möchte auf die andere Seite gucken, ohne zu
wissen, ob diese andere Seite über- haupt existiert“, so Schuff.
Besonders inspirierend empfand die studierte Malerin die alten Wei- den in der Umgebung von Plü- schow, die sie dazu veranlassten, ei- ne Reihe von Gipsskulpturen herzu-
stellen. Zwar ist das Ende von Mi- chele Schuffs künstlerischer Tätig- keit im Schloss Plüschow noch nicht erreicht, aber sie könne sich bereits vorstellen, dass die hier ent- standenen Werke ihre zukünftigen Projekte beeinflussen werden.
Artist Residency- Meckenburg, Germany May 2013
Selected as the VCCA exchange artist for one month Schloss Pluschow artist residency in Mecklenburg, Germany.
Fables of the Eco Future, March 30-June 8, 2013
The Hambidge Center, Rabun GA
March 30-June 8, 2013
Closing reception: Saturday June 8, 6-8pm
An artist can be both storyteller and innovator. Some have a preternatural ability to predict concerns that will soon encroach on our horizons. “Fables of the Eco-Future” presents artists who are preoccupied with the natural environment. They might envision an alternative future for the land, making plans and designing prosthetics for a new nature. They might develop spaces and objects in support of a healthy world. They speak of thriving ecosystems or devastated landscapes, expressing themselves through fantasy, reality, or an inventive combination of both. Curator Lisa Alembik will present a broad range of ideas and perspectives in this exhibition of work by Hambidge Fellows.
Hambidge Auction- April 27th, 2013
HAMBIDGE AUCTION - 2013
On Saturday, April 27th, 2013, Hambidge will present a stellar showcase of art and performances at the Goat Farm in Atlanta. Our 18th annual auction will feature installations, videos and over 200 artworks up for auction representing emerging and established artists from across the country. Dynamic performances by poets, dancers, and musicians will inspire and entertain throughout the evening.
Art Papers 14th Annual Art Auction + Party February 9, 2013
Please join us for ART PAPERS 14th Annual Art Auction + Party, featuring an impressive showcase of work by 250+ famed and emerging artists from around the world, proceeds from the silent auction benefit the award-winning programs of ART PAPERS.
This two-night event is the signature art party that kicks off Atlanta's art year. As always there will be collection-worthy art, great people watching, amazing music, a well-stocked bar, and complimentary bites and desserts provided by some of Atlanta's hottest restaurants.
ART PAPERS 14th ANNUAL ART AUCTION
Collectors' Preview: Friday, February 8, 2013. 7 to 9 pm
Art Auction + Party: Saturday, February 9, 2013. 7 to 10 pm
at Mason Murer Fine Art, Atlanta - See more at: http://artpapers.org/auction/#sthash.WW5OrdFm.dpuf
Driver Phillips Studio presents
an exhibition of artworks curated by John Otte
June 15 - July 15, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, June 15th, 6-9PM,
323 Berean Avenue, Atlanta, GA 30312
Saturdays and Sundays 11:00AM - 5PM and by appointment
ATLANTA, GA - Stylists Thom Driver and Kim Phillips of Driver Phillips are pleased to announce the presentation of ZEN DIXIE, a multi-media installation of artworks curated by John Otte, set within an extraordinary historic Cabbagetown shotgun home. The exhibition will include drawing, painting, photography, sculpture, sound, video, and installation meant to resonate specifically with the home’s minimal, yet sensuous, aesthetic. Designed by architect Nicholas Storck in 1998 in collaboration with Kim Phillips and John Otte, "Zen Dixie" - the original working title of the 100 year-old shotgun house/modernist intervention - stands as a synthesis of architecture, design and art that honors both the raw and the refined. Artworks in the exhibition will inhabit the home’s unique environment, comprised of the historic and the new, exploring the potential for quiet reflection and meditative experience.
Included in the exhibition are artists based in Atlanta and New Orleans: Lillian Blades, Dawn DeDeaux, Courtney Egan, Dave Greber, E.K. Huckaby, Fereydoon Family, Gyun Hur, Sonya Yong James, John Otte, Michele Schuff, Nina Schwanse, Wesley Stokes, Karen Tauches, Gregor Turk, Delona Wardlaw, and Christian Bradley West.
John Otte, born in Virginia Beach, VA, is a native Atlantan artist/curator based in New Orleans, LA. Recent curated exhibitions include: CALIGULA, a multi-media installation of artworks by Wesley Stokes at Parse Gallery, New Orleans, June 1 - 29, 2012; Constant Abrasive Irritation Produces The Pearl, A Disease Of The Oyster - Lenny Bruce, 2011-12 at The Pearl, a satellite exhibition of Prospect.2 New Orleans, Oct. 22, 2011 - Jan. 29, 2012; Summer Falls at Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta, Aug. 19 - 29, 2009; and Entr'acte at Bush Antiques, a satellite exhibition of Prospect.1 New Orleans, Nov. 1, 2008 - Jan. 18, 2009.
In addition to these curated shows, Otte will participate in an exhibition with his own new digitally-printed/hand-painted paintings at The Front Gallery, New Orleans, July 14 - Aug. 5, 2012.
CREDITS: ZEN DIXIE is an ongoing project of Thom Driver and Kim Phillips Studio. Curatorial assistance is provided by Kristin Juarez and Karen Tauches.
“WAX” the Gallery at BAG
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: “WAX” the Gallery at BAG
The Brooklyn Artists Gym
168 7th st, Brooklyn, NY
Opening Reception: Saturday May 15th, 6-9pm
Telephone: 718 858 9069
Brooklyn, NY, [4/23/12]
Encaustic works often look and feel delicate because soft, muted colors emerge from the surface. But encaustic is a toxic medium whose complex process deters many artists from its use. Brooklyn Artists Gym wishes to draw awareness to this infrequently used medium through WAX; exposing viewers to encaustic’s typical properties in addition to new artistic approaches.
Participating artists: Francesca Azzara, Miles Conrad, Heidi Curko, Patricia Dusman, Alicia Forestall-Boehm, Noelle Gray, Sarah Grew, Aoife Hand, Stephanie Hargrave, Kay Hartung, Nancy Hubbard, Emily Korson, Jodie Manasevit, Carolina Rubio MacWright, Michele Schuff, Mari Renwick, Krista Svalbonas, Amy Weil.
BAG is an artists’ studio and gallery facility in the Park Slope/Gowanus area of Brooklyn, NY. BAG’s mission is to help make it possible for artists to further their work and careers at a reasonable cost. Started five years ago, BAG also offers classes, critiques, figure drawing, library, kitchenette and all studio facilities.
For more information, contact: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com.
Windsor Whitney Biennial- Online
World Sculpture News Winter 2012
June 10-July 23, 2011
Before a meeting of physicists in 1908, Albert Einstein’s teacher, Hermann Minkowski, announced that “Henceforth space by itself, and time by itself, are doomed to fade away into mere shadows, and only a kind of union of the two will preserve an independent reality.” This revolutionary pronouncement has proved to be prophetic not only in science but also in the arts. An avatar in this contemporary revaluation of space and time is Michele Schuff, whose exhibition Metronome at Whitespace Gallery in Atlanta offers a visual meditation on the intersections of time, space, and light. Progressing from two to three dimensions, the works represent, as it were, sculpture in evolution.
Conjuring up notions of regularity and measure, even monotony, the exhibit’s title Metronome connotes, of course, the inverted pendulum measuring time at uniform intervals, often used for piano practice. Paralleling the instrument’s constant rhythm, Schuff layers successive coats of encaustic, one over the other, reiterated layer after layer, finally fusing them together with heat. The resulting repetitions, she says, “create a textured ‘beat’ and somehow through their pattern and regularity generate abstract fields of color and sound.” Non-objective though they are, the works often reflect at the same time the artist’s personal preoccupations. Originating in an acute sense of linear time’s tensions, poignancy, even tedium, these intimate reflections burgeon in later, more sculptural works into mystical timelessness.
An expanse of blue, Oh Willowby (2010), an earlier piece, shows a rippled surface relieved by splashes of light and irregular strokes of hot pink. Uneven, barely visible horizontal striations in a darker hue lend a quasi-grid to the vertical markings. Borrowed from Jane Austin’s novel Sense and Sensibility, the title intimates the emotional resonance of romantic hopes dashed, even when the loss is for the best.
From the middle period, By Hook or By Crook (2010), reveals a similar roughened surface but a brighter palette, with delicate chartreuse mottled with a subtle red-orange. Also in this second grouping, Love Courage (2011) shows a deeply textured surface, its rivulets accentuated by the uniform white color. The work, the artist says, refers to that burst of emotional energy that accompanies fervent affection. The deep blue gouged surface of We Thought You were Lost (2011) conveys the artist’s concern for a friend who overcame depression after a tragic loss. Marbled in gray-blue and red, Perfect Attendance (2011) conveys with wry humor the tedium of a nine- to-five job, as if marking off the days.
In the final grouping, the artist sometimes uses a stencil, regularizing the patterns and building up the surfaces even higher. Composed of interlocking circles of gold with hints of red—the two final hues in the alchemical process--Solder Gold (2011) combines the perfection symbolized in the round, together with the illumination and sacred qualities inherent in the metal.
Inspired by a cherry tree blooming outside her studio window, Schuff decided to cast the blossoms in wax, using these in bas-reliefs, such as Reprise (2011), where scores of wax blooms are set side by side, patterning the composition with a contemplative regularity. Varying in shape and in size, and placed more randomly, the indigo blooms of Don’t Go (2011) are set within a dim light, almost like flowers floating on a pool. For the artist, the work embodies the pain of losing someone you love. Bunched more closely together, the cast flowers of Big Blue (2011) graduate from a midnight hue in the wide border to a paler shade in the center, as though suffused with light. A complex symbol especially esteemed by the Japanese, the cherry blossom-- exquisitely beautiful but evanescent--symbolizes not only prosperity and the beauties of life but also the precariousness of human existence.
Light is also pivotal to the final work of the exhibit, 48 Squares (2011). Composed of the same interlocking circles as the earlier work, the squares are arranged in a monumental grid, with their aqua hue –the color associated with the heavens--growing lighter toward the center, creating a soft, even illumination. Here the circle’s associations with eternity and completion join with the square, symbolizing the earth and temporality. The metronome’s insistent measure has been overtaken with an esthetic juncture of heaven and earth.
Schuff’s visual meditation on time, its measured regularity, tedium, joys, as well as its transcendence takes place within a created space which graduates from two dimensions to three, from flat surfaces to relief. In the words of Northrup Frye, “Every union of existence and perception is a space-time complex, not time plus space, but time times space, so to speak, in which time and space as we know them disappear.” Thus Schuff contributes to that legacy in the arts since 1850 or so, which seeks to redefine the Classical notions of space and time. No longer discrete entities, they are rather relative concepts, with light the only constant.
Lovick P. Corn Professor of Art History
Lagrange GA 30240
Art Papers Auction Friday February 10
ART PAPERS 13th Annual
ART AUCTION & PARTY
Friday, February 10
7 to 9 pm Auction & Party
Saturday, February 11
7 to 10 pm
An impressive showcase of work by 275+ famed and emerging
artists from around the world benefiting ART PAPERS
and its award-winning programs.
Metronome: New Works by Michele Schuff
New Works by Michele Schuff
June 10 through July 23, 2011
Whitespace Gallery, Atlanta
Opening 7-10 pm June 10, 2011
Lux in Tenebris: Paintings and Installation by Michele Schuff
By Jerry Cullum
Omnia quae sunt, lumina sunt.
—Scotus Erigena as quoted by Ezra Pound
…add your light to the sum of light.
—Billy Kwan in Christopher J. Koch’s novel The Year of Living Dangerously
If thee does not turn to the Inner Light, where will thee turn?
—George Fox as quoted by Kenneth Rexroth
There is light within a Man of Light, and it illuminates the whole world.
—the Gospel of Thomas
“All things that are, are lights.” We came from the Light, and to the Light we shall return. The fallen sparks trapped in earthen vessels is one of those models of gnostic philosophy that existed from one end of the Silk Road to the other, and has now spread throughout the earth. Perhaps it was always already spread throughout the earth. Perhaps the mysticism of light was spread already around the domesticated fires of the Paleolithic caves.
What we know for sure is that the mysticism of light took hold from Egypt to Central Asia and beyond. The major difference would be the source and destiny of the light; rationalists can say all they like that the metaphor is a natural diffusion of the multiple values perceived in fire and sunlight, and of course that is how all metaphors get started. (One might consult antique texts like Owen Barfield’s Poetic Diction on the birth of all abstract concepts out of analogies drawn from direct physical experience.)
But the experience of the Inner Light seems to be a genuine psychological phenomenon, not necessarily universal. More often the Light is kept safely distanced from human beings, like fire itself or like an excess of sunlight. And yet one way or another, the light gets in. The disagreements regard the question of how and when.
“He was not that light, but came to bear witness to the light. The true light that enlightens every man was coming into the world.” “This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.” And the Light Verse in the Koran birthed whole schools of mystical wisdom.
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” The issue for European and Asian antiquity was whether the light was there in the first place as part of a cosmic rescue operation or through a cosmic accident that meant the light itself had to be rescued.
Americans, raised on Calvinism’s notions of total depravity and with ample personal experience of innate human perversity, generally voted for the necessity of enlightenment from without, by any means necessary. But a working minority always asked if the light of enlightenment might not be already embedded in the muck, like the lotus flower that springs from the muddy lake bottom in the Buddhist metaphor.
Buddhism came late to America, of course; but gnostic philosophy and gnostic psychology came to the North American continent courtesy of Central European transmissions of Silk Road metaphysical metaphors. (I refer you to Harold Bloom’s books, such as Omens of Millennium, for an argument that America always was a more gnostically optimistic culture than is generally believed.)
Michele Schuff’s paintings and installation at Whitespace give us the metaphors unmediated. The two galleries give us the successive moments of light-mysticism in reverse, rather as Carl Jung suggested that contemporary souls had to read the Tibetan Book of the Dead (which itself is a Silk Road account of the re-imprisonment of the light that is classically gnostic in its essence). We begin in ineffable brightness and descend into luminous darkness. (Or maybe ascend; the floor of the back gallery is a big step higher than the floor of the front one.)
In other words, the front gallery’s big encaustic paintings feature vivid bits of red, yellow and orange surrounded by and melding into a white background/foreground, or globular ovals of white floating in a midnight-blue surround. The tables in the front gallery combine individual containers of light into a suggestion of collective purpose (like Christianity’s lamps put upon lampstands to give light, albeit soft light, to the whole house). The back gallery contains multiple hanging translucent models of Coleman lanterns (electrically lit, on a single circuit, the technology itself providing a metaphor of Neo-Platonism’s vision of the single Source of the One energizing and illuminating the Many).
One wants to celebrate the sheer technical versatility of “Lux in Tenebris” (Latin for “light in the darkness,” an extract from the Gospel of John that became the motto of the Presbyterian Church). It is rare to find an artist who solves compositional problems through a revelatory dream who also figures out how to combine onto a single rheostat the circuitry of multiple lanterns suspended by piano wire. The combination of imaginative leap and practical cast of mind suggests an enlightenment that is half intuitively Buddhist and half old-fashioned eighteenth-century rationalist. (For the record, Schuff’s chief source of metaphoric inspiration was Buddhist, but she is not a practicing Buddhist, and she began researching the metaphors of light after some very real experiences of light in the darkness in the unlit stretches of north Georgia’s Hambidge Center. In the night of rural artists’ retreats as in pioneer America, there are times when one can find oneself in the middle of a dark wood where the clear path is altogether lost, quite literally.)
The paintings make fine meditational objects. The repeated image of lights that are either stars in a night sky or illuminated vessels floating in a richly luminous dark are particularly intriguing.
Schuff may or may not know the onetime Persian-garden custom of putting lights in glass globules behind curtains of falling water, in niches for lights that are themselves concreteizations of the metaphors of mysticism. Most of us have encountered some version of the metaphors of microcosm and macrocosm that link the stellar distances of the night sky with the invisible distances of the occulted Inner Light. But that the technical problem of representation of all this should have been resolved in a dream is one of God’s gifts to the surviving Jungians among us. (Actually, it is God’s gift to a whole raft of contending interpretations, but one seldom finds such a pristine example of archetypes at work in everyday life.)
Of course, it is Schuff’s sufficiently transcendent talents as a painter that makes the dream’s visual insight more than a treasure held in earthen vessels. The wax of the encaustic medium contributes its customary mediation of light superbly, and the particular mix of light and dark in the palette is exactly what a good painting ought to contain. Occasional flaws of surface texture and other inevitable reasons for quibbling come only after the first impact, which is delectably positive and likely to ameliorate later critical impulses.
The hanging lanterns alone would be worth the price of admission, if one were being charged to get in, which one is not. The paintings alone would be worth it. As it is, the twin galleries of light and dark are a free gift that should be savored while the show is still there, and remembered lovingly when it is not.
The show is there through the fifth day of May, and you may consult your Atlanta arts calendar for the boring details of how and when to find it. Or point your browser, as a favorite radio program so charmingly puts it, to www.whitespace814.com.