Dan Schmidt: Double Take
February 25th through March 31st
Reception Wednesday, March 6 from 4:30-6:30
The Azarian McCullough Gallery at St Thomas Aquinas College is pleased to present a solo exhibition by Dan Schmidt titled Double Take. This body of work examines the identity of objects, the politics of consumption and modern product design yet presents these ideas in formal, abstract colorful paintings that mysteriously hint at the original quotidian source material.
The paintings are colorful and play with lyrical shapes that dance within the center of the picture plane. At first glance, it is unclear from what source the artist derives such whimsical imagery. Indeed, the works are composed of one or more shapes traced from commercial packaging that the artists collects and keeps from his daily life. He squirrels these objects away into the studio and works with them repeatedly, making drawings from myriad formal variations.
Schmidt considers these works “Standard Stoppages” and enjoys objects that, while clearly mass-produced, are obscure as to their original brand or purpose- so that the mystery of their identity unfolds to viewers only in a slow-viewing process. One must spend time with the paintings in order to begin to parse out the subject matter’s humble origins.
Schmidt uses gouache and heavy bond paper yet works over the surface many times to achieve wonderfully patterned backgrounds that use strong formal color patterns. These patterns often derive their logic from the patterns seen on security envelopes- those intricate, complicated graphics used to prevent exposure of the interior of a business envelope. As shapes not meant to be seen, these problematic patterns that often fade into the background of life beguile and intrigue the artist and speak to the hidden life of objects. Dan Schmidt is based in New York City and holds a BA from Willamette University in Oregon and studied with the seminal abstract artist Hans Haacke at the Cooper Union in New York.