An Amazing Body of Work: Plus at Ark Gallery

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Plus, now at Ark Gallery in Altadena through March 18th, is a simply dazzling “body” of work. These luminous nude images are profoundly beautiful, in an ethereal curation that changes as the light changes in the gallery.

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Over the course of 90 minutes at the opening today, shadows fell and daylight shifted into darkness. A number of the works are suspended archival pigment prints on transparency film. These came alive and danced, just as their subject moved and danced in creating this astonishing work.

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Kristine Schomaker’s solo exhibition is both simple and profound, revealing powerful, intimate images that spark a deep conversation about body image and beauty.

Schomaker has consistently – in a variety of different works that we’ve had the pleasure to witness evolve over the past four years – boldly discussed dealing with an eating disorder, body image, and self-esteem. This work continues and transcends that discussion.

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“As an artist, my work is always about exploration, experimentation, education, communication. It is about me. It is about my life. It is an autobiography,” Schomaker asserts.

Plus was a spontaneous creation by the artist during a hotel stay: post- sunrise serendipity and forgetting to turn off a bathroom light, formed the opportunity to shape her new body of work. 

A sliding bathroom door with frosted glass, a glow behind that door, an artist’s eye. The inspiration of art history, Reubens, Arbus. And an iPhone.

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Schomaker playfully began shooting photos on a timer and on blast, feeling free, playful, and having fun. With the frosted glass between her body and the camera she was able to create silhouettes that “focused on form, line and shape.” She began to see her body as an instrument for creating the beauty of art.

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“Through art, I have learned to face my fears in order to move forward and love myself. Or at least try to,” Schomaker says. “This new body of work is about confrontation, weight, shape, excess, history, voyeurism, objectification, control, confinement, containment, self esteem, confidence, bravery, revealing and concealing, authenticity.”

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Deeply personal, the key words that describe this exhibition to viewers include transcendent, joyful, and evocative. The framed prints on fine art paper and the suspended transparency films that both comprise this exhibition each offer depictions of the wild wonder of the human body.

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They reveal our capacity for joy; the ability of our bodies to allow that joy. They are defiant and bold, delicate shadows, triumphant and infused with longing. 

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The beautiful curation, in which viewers can stand between and weave among the large-scale suspended images, as if they too were reflected in that hotel room’s mirrored glass, adds to the overall magical quality of the exhibition.

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There is something primal, something pure about the shadowed images Schomaker has taken of herself.

“It is a hyper-personal exploration of being overweight. It is about taking control of my body in a time where #metoo is about our bodies being controlled by someone else,” she says.

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She calls it liberating, reclaiming, and an ode to the lost love of one’s self.

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The work here is quite simply what art is supposed to be: vulnerable and inspiring, moving and relatable, lovely to see, provocative to contemplate. If art is a mirror, then we are seeing ourselves, our fears, our pleasures, our vindication. If art is a call to action, then the empowerment of these photographic works cannot be denied. If art is about capturing and preserving beauty, then these somewhat amorphous forms, their luscious light, their visual – and yes, spiritual, glow certainly does that as well.

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In short, Schomaker has hit this out of the ballpark, and Kira Vollman’s beautiful open space at Ark is the perfect setting to explore images of exceptional luminosity.

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An Artist Talk is scheduled for February 11, 3-5pm; a closing reception will be held March 18, 2-5pm.

ARK is located at 2599 Fair Oaks Ave in Altadena.

Genie Davis; photos: Genie Davis 

 

 

The Power of Art Held in a Shoebox: Kristine Schomaker on PR, Gallery Space, and Art Itself

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Kristine Schomaker is something of a Renaissance woman – public relations pro, project space owner, magazine publisher, and artist.

As a working artist, Schomaker started Shoebox PR in February 2014 after realizing there was a huge need for artist marketing services.

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“There are more artists than there are PR companies. I have a degree in Art and Art History.  As a former instructor, I wanted to continue supporting artists any way I could. As an artist myself, I knew there was a need for artist support. I created my company to help artists in areas they aren’t able to.”

She notes that being an artist today is more than just creating the work.

“Today artists have to be entrepreneurs. A lot of artists don’t know where to begin. I come from an administrative background as well as my education history so it was natural for me to become a teacher, a supporter for artists.”

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Shoebox PR is not a traditional PR firm, but rather more of a support network for artists.

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“We help artists run their social media accounts, we do PR for their solo exhibitions, we help artists create community and build bridges in the art world that will help them persevere in there career,” she relates.

Her company also does social media promotion using Shoebox PR’s network of art influencers, and researches and filters calls for art/grants/residencies.

“We offer career consultation and guidance, studio visits, consult on artist statements, websites and more.”

Schomaker has success stories which include feature stories in major arts publications such as Juxtapoz, Hi-Fructose, Beautiful Bizarre, Huffington Post, LA Magazine, Konbini, Creators Project and here on Diversions LA among others.

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Along with assisting artists with coverage from other publications, Schomaker has also begun her own, Art & Cake.

“I felt there was a need for more writing on art. There are a few great local art publications, but there aren’t enough for all of the artists.  I wanted to add to the art world conversation. I wanted to support the lesser known art establishments, alternative venues and artists. Along the way, I realized I am also able to support art writers who deserve more attention and need more space to write,” she attests.

As an artist, much of the services she provides are tied to how she herself would like to be treated as an artist.

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“I am a multidisciplinary artist working to crush stereotypes and demythicize ideas of beauty.  My current work is part of a new cross-platform project called “An Ode to a Lost Love” whose leitmotif addresses the de(con)struction of self in relation to society’s perception/projection/reflection of beauty,” she explains.  “This work focuses on the complexities of gender identity, body image, and the societal privileging of women’s physical beauty over character and intellect.”

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The series already includes painting on canvas and mannequins, sculptural installation, digital animation made in Second Life, and narrative photography and video.

“I am a cultural producer who reaches outside of the studio to extend my creative energies and pursuits to my community. Shoebox PR, Art & Cake and Shoebox Projects are all an extension of my work as an artist.”

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And speaking of Shoebox Projects, Schomaker has created her own gallery/workshop space as another avenue for artists to promote and show their work.

“I’m lucky that I had the perfect space in my loft,” she says. “Artists are finding new ways to create, show, and sell. I started Shoebox Projects in November 2016 with month-long residencies. They’ve all been exceptional and fun.”

With so much going on, it may be hard for Schomaker to fit everything she’s doing into a “Shoebox” – but she’s certainly succeeding.

  • Genie Davis; photos: Kristine Schomaker

The Brewery Art Walk – Spring 2017 Edition

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Above, the work of Sean Sobczak Sandman Creations.

As always, DTLA’s awesome and eclectic artists lofts, studios, and galleries – the Brewery – offered up a tremendous wealth of art to peruse at the April edition of their twice yearly art walk.  Take a look at some of the artists and art – and if you missed it this spring, be sure to mark the walk on your calendar for October. So much to see, intimate conversations with artists, brilliant art work at reasonable prices. Hard to top that, but this being LA, we threw in a bright, sunny day, some gourmet food trucks, and beer. The Artwalk IPA was perfect.

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Above and below, artist Samuelle Richardson with her wonderfully haunting “Ghost Dogs” sculptural installation. Richardson created these beautiful pieces especially for Art Walk.

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A magical energy in these sculptures, which use fabric and wood to shape powerful and poignant beasts.

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Chenhung Chen’s fluid, alive wire sculptures dance with kinetic energy, below.

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The artist’s wall art, many utilizing staples, is a fresh take on abstract imagery, works that shine literally and figuratively.

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Below, Glen Waggner creates intense and diminutive drawings that tell succinct, perfectly realized impressionistic stories. The prolific artist creates both figures and landscapes.

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Kristine Augustyn, below, offers both lush abstracts and figurative pieces that edge into the surreal. Both Augustyn and Waggner showed works at the Brewery’s Jesus Wall Gallery.

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Below, a work inspired by a trip to Disneyland.

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Randi Hockett’s studio-grown crystals dazzle, below. These raw and glittering works offer a wonderful contrast of sharp crystal textures and the softness of the wax surfaces. This is work that is hard to look away from, which evoke the feminine and the fairy tale.

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Kristine Schomaker, below, has reconstructed and reimagined her own work in an exhibition titled “An Ode to a Lost Love.” Tackling complex issues from body image to gender identity, her sculptural installation below explores both the personal and the universal – and still evoke a fantastical candy store.

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Bill Leigh Brewer, below, creates photographic works that are painterly in style, mysterious and magical in perception.

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From the California desert to the snowy hills of Vermont, Brewer fills his landscapes with a subtext of wonder and loss.

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Winnie Brewer, below, has painted bees and other creatures great and small in exquisitely detailed works that glow with light and color.

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Below, Tony Pinto, in residence at Shoebox Projects, created dimensional paintings and photographic portraits in his exhibition “Art Seen.” His ability to capture the innate essence of artists, writers, and gallerists in LA’s art scene is revealing and insightful.

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While her studio was not open for art walk due to deadlines on completing works for other exhibitions, we had a sneak-peak at a piece currently on exhibit at Durden & Ray’s “Going Native” show from installation and sculptural artist Dani Dodge. Here a deeply layered image invites second, third, and many more looks beneath the surface.

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Her work, above, is like accessing an archeological dig: there is so much going on beneath the surface, an intense energy breaking through.

Below, Ryan McIntosh and Kati Milan share studio space and a wealth of evocative art.

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Artist Ted Meyer, below. A little bit Picasso, a little bit Modigliani in great faces, forms and familiars. These are portraits that tell a story worth “reading” often. Stylized, riveting, and exotic, Meyer’s figures also serve as a healing document for those affected by trauma. Brewery ONE

Below the incredibly rich partnered work of Anna Stump and Daphne Hill blossoms with life – lush and sensual florals.

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There is such an overflowing cornucopia of art at The Brewery that we could not do justice to all the artists here – or even those in this article. Find your own overflowing artistic joy at the next art walk come October.

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  • Genie Davis; Photos: Genie Davis

 

Art at the Mall: Galleria South Bay Redondo Beach

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Coming up in July, CA 101 will offer a new site for its pop-up, site-specific gallery, which features artists from San Diego to Santa Cruz. Last year, the installation was at the AES Power Plant in Redondo Beach, this year – it’s the South Bay Galleria mall in Redondo.

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As an early teaser, go visit the mall now, where artist Kristine Schomaker has inhabited an empty storefront on the first floor near Macy’s with her sculptures.

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“The Avatars are a stand-in for me. They are virtually my ‘ideal’ self. Since my work is about body image, self-acceptance and society’s perception of beauty, I will eventually have a mannequin made in my likeness to show that every body shape and size is beautiful,” Schomaker says.

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When you take a look at these store windows, for once, it’s not the clothes on the mannequins you’ll want to buy, it’s the mannequins themselves, beautiful examples of abstract expressionism, and one of the best commentaries on consumer culture, fashion, and body image around.

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Not much of a shopper myself, nonetheless I’ll be making many trips to the mall this summer.

  • Genie Davis