About Me

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MICHAEL SCHREIER Michael Schreier is a professional artist and photographer who has dedicated his considerable professional career to the celebration of both the public and private hero. Recent work includes Storyteller, Waiting for Words at the Ottawa Art Gallery, curator Emily Falvey, 2009, and the curating of the exhibition Dave Heath, A Heritage of Meaning, 2013 at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Selected works are represented in both public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Archives Photography Collection, the Agnes-Etherington Art Centre, the Canadian Portrait Gallery, Visual Studies Workshop, (Rochester, New York), Light Works Workshop, Syracuse New York, Carleton University Art Gallery, and the University of Ottawa Library Special Collections.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Camera Obscura is dedicated to Dave Heath and Jim Borcoman

Post #2

(cursor on photograph, for detailed viewing)

The Snapshot, History Painting and A Storyteller, Waiting for Words


   the archivist's muse    
 Tears for an Empty Desert 

Double-page layout edited to adjust for blog.
2006, Michael Schreier

                            As the Old Sing, So the Young Pipe. 1640                                         Family Portrait
                                   Jacob Jordaens,                                                                          circa 1985
                              National Gallery of Canada                                                           Michael Schreier

I am most appreciative to the National Gallery of Canada for its clear and informative essay concerning Jacob Jordaen's painting As the Old Sing, So the Young Pipe, 1640.  Essay/History to Jordaen's As The Old Sing.

However, allow me to digress for a moment and return to my father's portrait from the previous posting:

                                                                                 Portrait of my father,
                                                                                         circa 1985

                                            Michael Schreier, From artist's book Tears for an Empty Desert, 2006

  Prior to his death, and for several years, my father referenced Austria's daily journals; prompted perhaps by an increasing anxiety for his decision to sever all ties with his European roots, he came to realize that returning would be impossible. My father expressed serious difficulty with this portrait, as it may have highlighted an uneasiness, that his privileged musings could be so readily recognized. His accidental death in 2005 suggested a deeper unresolved ambiguity: my response would be the threnody,
Tears for an Empty Desert, 2006. 
  Gaile McGregor's  The Wacousta Syndrome: Explorations in the Canadian Langscape, associated with James Fenimore Cooper's iconic The Leatherstocking Tales, explores this unique aspect of Canadian identity. Although focused on the routine pragmatics of daily life    in one's adopted culture    one might still experience a memory of and yearning for one's homeland. She suggests this metaphor of loss as an intrinsic element within the Canadian cultural profile. 

                           Note: the word Langscape is McGregor's, delineating vision as a product of language and voice. 

( Page layout, one year after my father's death, 
                                                                        included in Tears for an Empty Desert.) 
                                                                          Collection of the Artist, Michael Schreier.

Further, as my father's death would mark our familial tragedy, its circumstance would reflect a more critical absurdity    an embrace for the unknown.


                                                  ( Portrait of my mother, one year after my father's death, 
                                                           included in Tears for an Empty Desert.) 
                                                               Collection of the Artist, Michael Schreier.

Drawing, circa 1983, included in Shaman's Witness, 2008
Hilde Schreier

 As suggested, a memory, a photograph or work of art may offer a portal to thought. I first viewed Jordaens' master work at the National Gallery of Canada in 1968. At the time, I was very interested in theater, having the previous year in high school, with deep conviction and premature hubris, directed Eugene Ionesco's The Bald Soprano. A master of the theater of the absurd, Ionesco touches the very core separating the frailty of memory from storytelling. I have discovered that Jordaens' work interrogates similar notions and I would over the course of my career, when accessible, return to this painting as it continues to enlighten current interests and direction.

( Considering another of Ionesco's plays ) 

                                                         Page Layout from Shaman's Witness, the 2nd in the trilogy:
                                                                  -Tears for an Empty Desert
                                                                  -Shaman's Witness
                                                                  -Storyteller/Waiting for Words

                                                             Michael Schreier, Artist's Book circa 2005-9, 
                                                                                       (paintings and drawings, Hilde Schreier,
                                                                   photographs, Michael Schreier)

From Series:  A Warm Smile is an Attribute of Charm,
1973, Michael Schreier

Collection: National Gallery of Canada



                                                            From work-in-progress series, (working title; The Differend)
                                                                                                  Collection of the Artist, Michael Schreier

 True absurdity, I propose, renders elements of both tenderness and empathy. A reverence for humanity's mystery might suggest that the story told, reflects an ethic to be revealed. Would the snapshot simply offer a confirmation, without any judgement or alternative rationale? Or might one consider it less than casual? The snapshot    of that prodigious moment    requires both a motive and then directive. Yet the artist may employ this common style, engaging with a more comprehensive dialectic, while framed within the rubric    one of numerous    "to witness".  Eric Fischl's Krefeld Project touches on chords of melancholy, sadness, and humor, with little contemporary cynicism, embracing complex thoughts for loss and bewilderment, a truly masterful work. His work underscores the very nature of  contemporary history painting and storytelling and can be referenced with Paula Rego's Pillowman and Balthus and the Cardgame.

                                                            From work-in-progress series, (working title; The Differend)
                                                                                           Collection of the Artist, Michael Schreier   

It is during moments of doubt, while still embracing with the quotidian, that I allow myself a respite in reverie    a reflective silence    a nurturing of a sense of place. The snapshot, I suggest, is always linked with storytelling, offering each of us a window to continuity and a mirror for the self. Finally Jean-Fran├žois Lyotard's The Differend: Phrases in Dispute suggests a unique perspective; consider an interim both a tie to and separation from immediacy in which a generated pause is exiled from continuity and rational thought.

Gyorgy Kurtag's remarkable composition resonates to voice, silence and the orchestration of space.

                                                                                       Family Moment  

                                                                 From series, (working title; The Differend)
                                                                                                 Collection of the Artist, Michael Schreier        

                                                        Diptych: From series Portraits in Silence, 2003, 
                                                                  Collection of the Artist, Michael Schreier

                                     16..04..03, 13..45..15                                                 16..04..03, 13..40..11
                                    (#s metadata timeline for photograph: day..month..year..hour..minute..second)

(note the order for the placement of the photographs in the diptych: the time line clearly indicates that the photograph on the right was taken first. What might this artist's intentional reversal imply?

A blog traditionally offers chronologically connected observations with historical references: it can also become an independent voice playing with associated imagery and thought. This blog is of the latter, not attempting to categorize logic with existing rationale but to offer an exploration for both unity and chaos. 

This blog may be its own Storyteller/Waiting for Words

 Disappearing Numbers
from exhibition, 
Storyteller/ Waiting for Words, 2009

Ottawa Art Gallery, Curator, Emily Falvey
Collection of the artist, Michael Schreier

( Cursor images for detailed viewing.)

Post #3  
The Constructed Image/Directorial Mode and the Sequence 
February 7, 2016