With Chelsea now dominated by narrative and pictorial representation, for the last few years artists interested in abstraction have worked within a narrow field of aesthetic choices currently acceptable to the art world. Contemporary fine art culture maintains a rather friendly attitude towards patterning for example, which is good news for artists like Jennifer Schmidt whose work often employs repetition as a stylistic device. Undoubtedly the most formally oriented of the group of artists profiled this week, Schmidt uses line and shape to create images that are not only formally seductive, but evoke a comfortable sense of familiarity.
Coupon Dash, (featured above), a city map comprised of voucher outlines provides a good representation of such familiarity, since the building blocks of the piece are not only easily recognizable and associated with an activity that typically requires transit in the first place, but take a form that people easily intuit as a map of Baltimore. Schmidt removes the street names map keys from her piece, creating a piece that succeeds for its economy of concept and elegance of line.
Jennifer Schmidt, Ballad, 2006, Screenprint
Similarly a response to pattern, Ballad, turns what I had previously found to be amongst the more offense of designs conceived for a notepad into something beautiful and poetic. Speaking of the formal qualities of the work exclusively, the extremely flatness of the print adds to the graphic appeal to the pattern , as does a slight adjustment to most of the covers I’ve seen; Schmidt subtly enlarging some of the white areas in the piece to create a greater sense of movement. However, it is the pairing of these deftly handled techniques with the scrawled word Ballad over the front cover that ultimately makes this piece. Here the banality of pattern and gesture combines as if to suggest it is song, or dance.
Jennifer Schmidt, Biography
Jennifer Schmidt (b. 1975, Bedford, Indiana) is a multi-media artist living in Brooklyn, NY and Boston, MA, who often works with printed media and graphic design to create sculptural installations, video, and screenprinted ephemera.
She received her Master of Fine Arts degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1999 and Bachelor of Arts degrees in Studio Art and Art History from the University of Delaware in 1997; and is faculty within the Print and Paper Area and Graduate Program at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.
RECENT EXHIBITIONS AND SCREENINGS INCLUDE: International Print Center New York, NY, Pulsar Festival for New Media, Caracas, Venezuela, Cinema-Scope, London, UK and Miami, FL, Candela Gallery, Puerto Rico, Test Patterns: Public Art Project, Baltimore, MD, Conversational Lag, Volume Gallery, New York, NY, Video Series 2005. RECENT PUBLICATIONS INCLUDE: Collezioni:Edge, May/June 2002, Eleven Bulls, May 2002, Big Red and Shiny, 2004/2005/2006, and Drain Journal for Contemporary Art and Culture, 2005. RECENT CURATORIAL PROJECTS INCLUDE: Sound Lab, Siggraph 2007, Bit Logic, GASP, Boston, MA, Mybrary, BUILD, San Francisco, CA, LINGO, ONI Gallery, Boston, MA, and 13/Proof, Anchor Graphics, Chicago, IL.
Jennifer Schmidt is a 2007 fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Artists’ Books from the New York Foundation for the Arts.