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.

Monday, 8 February 2016

Camera Obscura is dedicated to Dave Heath and Jim Borcoman

Post #3  

The Constructed Image/Directorial Mode and the Sequence

(another point of view)

(cursor on photograph, for detailed viewing)

To begin with, an anecdote:

While teaching a summer session at the Banff School of Fine Arts in 1979, I learned that the magazine Arts Canada was planning an issue on the Canadian Artists  Vera FrenkelCharles Gagnon, and Michael Snow. The issue would focus on the metaphor for passage, storytelling and memory. Vera asked if I might photograph her in support and I agreed, stipulating that she be seated  by a window. In concert with the completed portrait, I and several others eagerly accepted a proposed challenge: a collaborative effort, directed by Vera    to offer another moment in the assumed life of Cornelia Lumsden. During the arranged video-shoot in the illustrious Banff Springs Hotel conference hall, and while in casual conversation, Takao Tanabe, the Canadian painter, aware of the circumstances surrounding this production, and with some, I suspect, intended mischief, unassumingly divulged that the Banff Springs Hotel has a room without a door.  His further revelation that there had been a woman resident in the hotel during the late 40's, early 50's, who in order to cover expenses, would sell a work from a selection of "degenerate" art she had salvaged from Europe during the second world war, provided us with additional intrigue. Naturally, in connecting these two unrelated musings, we conjectured that this room without a door housed critical art works associated with numerous contemporary masters. Regrettably, Wikipedia would reveal that this Room was the site of a murder, simply confirming that architecture could indeed be witness to both fact and fiction. These casual ruminations encouraged my work, From One Room, completed during my stay at the Banff School. At the time I had little idea of its significance within my developing body of work as its production was simply intended as an illustration of my professional concerns for my students.

The secret life of Cornelia Lumsden

Snapshot of an Event, Possibly,
A Concert for the Silent Witness, Character and script to be improvised!

my working title including credit for Ara Rose Parker, photographer,
  with profound appreciation and tender thoughts for a passing memory)


(From One Room)
Collection of the Artist

From series 
The Daly Building Porftfolio

In-camera cibachrome photograph,
1980, Michael Schreier

National Gallery of Canada

   Michael Lesy's  Time Frames:The Meaning of Family Pictures, and Carl Jung's Symbols of Transformation have provided me valuable insight concerning the origin and perception of an idea. As an aside, one's Family Album may contribute its own unique Symbols of Transformation. My experience has demonstrated that poetry, visual or otherwise encourages one towards a deeper empathy for continuity and the value of place. To that end, I have considered Gottfried Leibniz's  reflections on the notions of authority and hierarchy: matters which directly affect our understanding for the origin of thought. An Authority to Voice offers a simple perception, best illustrated by acknowledging that    as one reads this text an idea may be provoked, and then, just as quickly replaced. The former is its author, the latter, both its defender and potential challenger, the process to be repeated. Any formal structures used by the artist, including elements such as depth of field, texture, light and dark, scale, perspective invoking a transition from one space to another, provide the reader with similar experiences. Simply, one recognizes the process of seeing/perceiving as an acknowledgement of both stasis and change, each element enthusing a metaphor of passage. Similarly, while still harbouring notions of vulnerability and doubt, Art History and the family album continue to offer an opus, a witnessing to their time.

Freud's Window,

Tears for an Empty Desert 

2006, Michael Schreier

Edmund Jab├Ęs'  Book of Questions offers a remarkable philosophical journey, of both exit and entry to Plato's Cave. He underscores the value of the exile and nomadic experience:

Michael Schreier, 2002

                                                                          Returning to the Archivist's Muse:

   the archivist's muse    
 Tears for an Empty Desert 

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


                                           Jacob Jordaens,                                                         Family Album,                                                                                                                                                                                             
This detail from the Jordaens painting emphasizes the father playing and by association, passing on that sense of voice to the younger child. The grandmother, in concert, sings the song " A New Song from Kallo" dedicated to those extraordinary individuals lost in combat. Jacob Jordaens' allegory asserts the value of history and voice to storytelling. He encourages the role of the witness. This history painting, reassembling the structure of the family snapshot, underscores a sequence of events: the senior flutist gazes at the silent viewer a virtual witness, possibly complicit, uninvited      

      a chair in the foreground laden with fruit, however turned inward preventing access: Oh Yes!    please, with some licence for hyperbole    all that music, song and hidden voice proposing a Concert for the Silent Witness and we are relegated to rest at the proscenium. On the other hand, and in partnership, Family Album places a young boy, pausing, at the edge having the potential for entry to an undisclosed room, a Camera Obscura.  I am overwhelmed by the surrounding silence and anonymity    the doors offering little sanctuary. Contrary to the Jordaens, as this young boy gazes out, one is made aware that any evidence of ritual other than the immediate encounter is lost. Instead, we are given silence, as any external circumstances are neither present nor potentially acknowledged. Much later as an artist, I would engage a body of work titled "Storyteller,Waiting for Words," perhaps partially informed by a similar experience. "From One Room" notes that for a restricted period of time there is both entry and exit to an outsider's space, both exiled and critical to solitude. 
Much has been discussed in the History of Photography regarding both the directorial mode and the constructed image. I would suggest that the process of abstraction be considered as a means to engage an objective reality with its translation    rendering either an abstract or figurative reference    neither of which replicate an objective moment but transfer the original experience. Formal constraints direct the viewer to engage with the work, which may either be participatory, or a silent musing. 

 Portrait of Lea  

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

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

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

Post #4

From Margin to Proscenium:

Considering the layout    internal landscape    with Storytelling:

February 14, 2016