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.

Friday, 29 April 2016

Post  # 11

Words yet to Come

(cursor on photograph for detailed view,
note: unless otherwise indicated all photographs,
by Michael Schreier and drawings by Hilde Schreier,
reproduction, without permission, prohibited.)

Storyteller/ Waiting for Words
Artist book: 2007-8

Michael Schreier

I have always interpreted Carl Jung's definition of a Night Sea Journey as a necessary place/attitude that an artist might embrace at a time of deep introspection. One may become occupied by doubt and uncertainty, perhaps even challenging a sense of place and possibly one's accomplishments. My regard for such a deep challenge provides me with the necessary energy and guidance for clarity: as it may also become a component in my work. The above layout from Storyteller/ Waiting for Words, An Artist's book: 2007-8 illustrates my suggestion.  

Detail from Intro: Layout
(cursor on image to detail text)

The above two details underscore the subtlety offered in the complete image. Clearly, the reversed illegible text presents its source somewhere behind the beholder. A further complication arises as one notices that the perspective tends to the right and into the distance. As an aside, notice that this perspective will marry virtually with the space suggested by a mirrored spacial movement offered by the photograph of the store window/blue rectangle space: its perspective also moving into the distance. The two might meet behind the central image of the ceramic women figure?! Further study of the surface of the glass reflecting the text reveals a rubbing, a smudge, probably a sloppy window cleaning effort. A deeper study of the lower corner of the text image may reveal a shadow form cast by and echoing the shape of the ceramic figure. I leave the reader with any implications arising from these formal traces. I would however as I have tried to emphasize in previous posts reiterate that a photograph offering detailed information may actually propose a more complex truth. Although a cloak of certainty has somehow always been presumed as the photographic process renders accuracy, it  has however, over the course of photography's short history just as quickly been questioned.

Tabula Rasa #1                                      Table 1                                    Tabula Rasa #2
                                      Michael Schreier                                 Gerhard Richter                          Michael Schreier
                                             2009                                                     1962                                         2009

                       Anecdote: Robert Rauschenberg, Erased Drawing

Notions of erasure as a creative gesture are not new as a painter may draw over, erase a previous gesture. Rauschenberg's interest to erase a de Kooning drawing happens at a very interesting moment in American history as Joseph McCarthy revs up his insidious efforts, directing his notorious witch hunts throughout the american cultural fabric. My understanding for the erased drawing comprises a profound sense of irony as certainly Rauschenberg would have to decide to what extent evidence should be retained and destroyed, almost a foreshadowing: the completed erasure in 1953 introduces with some irony the initiated McCarthy hearings of 1954.

(Please allow me to acknowledge a mistake made in the initial posting, It was not Eugene McCarthy but Joseph McCarthy that was involved with the Anti-American hearings. Much appreciation to Dave Heath for pointing out the mistake!, now corrected)

                                                                       Christopher Lea Dunning, "from an Artist's" book.          

Christopher Lea Dunning is a close friend, colleague, compatriot who has for a number of years insinuated himself into Art History publications. Cursor on his above name and you should arrive at one of his remarkable works, Insinuating Oneself into History. The work speaks for itself. These references to erasure and "collage" emphasize both an artist's need for linkage and continuity as well as challenging the very nature of truth and witnessing, the value, duration not only of utterance but the broader archive of humanity's guarantee for voice. 

As history compels itself to the surface of time, to compete with the quotidian  can one really acknowledge the value of witnessing? Artists over the years have struggled with both their conscience and ethics, finally relying on an artwork's profound implication for guidance. Implications guided not strictly by formal gesture, abstraction  and rendering but by the very desire for continuity.

As Edmond Jab├Ęs has so eloquently challenged in The Book of Dialogue, translated by Rosemarie Waldrop,

Hidden language, not that of the hand or eyes, a language beyond
gesture, beyond looks, smiles or tears that we had to learn! Ah, what
desert will revive it now?
We thought we were done with crossing the desolate stretch of
land where the word had dragged us, making us and our wanderings
bear amazed witness to its perennial nature.
And here silence leads us into its glass kingdom, vaster yet at first
sight, breaking all trace of our passage.
...primal silence which we cannot escape.