by Aline Smithson
October 3, 2019
Artist Wendi Schneider is unabashedly unafraid of beauty. Her images are timeless, romantic, and filled with poetry and grace. Her compositions include the flora, fauna, and the figure and they are elevated into fragile objects with the use of precious metals applied to the photographs. These singular expressions have resulted in a tidal wave of exhibitions. Her series, Evenings with the Moon, is currently on exhibition in a solo show at the SE Center for Photography in Greenville, SC through October 26th with a reception on October 4th. She opens another solo exhibition, States of Grace, at Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston, TX on October 19th – November 27th, with a reception on October 19. Her work will also be included in Nude vs. Naked at The Art Gym in Denver, CO, running October 10 – November 1, with a reception on October 10th.
Wendi Schneider is a Denver-based visual artist illuminating impressions of grace in the natural world with photography and precious metals. Drawn to the serenity she finds in elegant organic forms amidst the chaos in which we live, she creates unique objects of reverence to preserve vanishing beauty in our vulnerable environment.
Born in Memphis, TN in 1955, Schneider holds an AA in Art History from Stephens College and a BA in Painting from Newcomb College at Tulane. She turned to photography in the early ‘80s to reference models for paintings. Mesmerized by the alchemy of the darkroom, yet missing the sensuousness of oils, she layered glazes on her prints to create a heightened reality.
After college, she worked at The Times-Picayune newspaper, where she re-created the 1901 Picayune’s Creole Cook Book. Schneider then moved to New York, where she photographed for book covers and Victoria Magazine, continuing to create her fine artwork. She moved to Denver in 1994, later sidelining her fine art practice while working in photography, art direction, and design.
Inspired to return to fine art photography in 2010, she soon began her ongoing series ‘States of Grace,’ embracing digital to capture, layer and print her images, then gilding to infuse the artist’s hand and suffuse with the spirituality and sanctity of the precious metals, insuring each is a unique work of art.
Schneider’s photographs are held in permanent collections at The New Orleans Museum of Art, The Memphis Brooks Museum, The Auburn University Library Collection, and The Try-Me Collection, and numerous private collections.
Her work has been exhibited in solo shows at A Gallery For Fine Photography, The Griffin Museum of Photography, Galeria Photographic, The Southeast Center of Photography, A Smith Gallery, The Gallery at Mr. Pool, soon at Catherine Couturier Gallery, and extensively in group exhibits worldwide include AIPAD, Art Basel, Candela, Panopticon, The Center For Photographic Art, The Center For Fine Art Photography, The Colorado Photographic Arts Center, and The Berlin and Barcelona Foto Biennales.
Schneider is represented by A Gallery For Fine Photography in New Orleans, Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston, and Galeria PhotoGraphic in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. She has juried exhibits for The A Smith Gallery, The Darkroom Gallery, The Robert Anderson Gallery and is developing curatorial projects. Schneider sits on the executive board of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center.
My work is in the ‘States of Grace’ series is rooted in the serenity I find in the sinuous elegance of organic forms. I’m transfixed and transformed in the art of capturing the stillness of the suspended movement of light and compelled to preserve the visual poetry of these fleeting, often overlooked moments – illuminating impressions of ephemeral beauty. Photographing intuitively – what I feel, as much as what I see – and informed by a background in painting, art history and design, I portray an interpretation by layering the images digitally with color and texture to find balance between the real and the imagined. In my early work of the ‘80s and ‘90s, I layered oils on silver gelatin prints to create a more personal vision. My images are now printed with archival pigment ink on vellum or kozo. I then apply white gold, silver or 24k gold leaf behind the image, creating a luminous surface that changes as the viewers position and ambient light transition. This process infuses the artist’s hand and suffuses the treasured subjects with the implied spirituality and sanctity of the precious metals.
Within the series are images that can be grouped by treatment, feeling or subject – including figura, flora and fauna. In ‘Evenings with the Moon’ I contemplate the power of universal experiences to find acceptance and transcendence, engaging the moon as muse. My images of the night draw on the metaphor of darkness and light to express our shared longing for love, harmony and balance amidst the chaos of the world. Gilded on verso with precious metals, the subjects echo the luminosity of their celestial inspiration. This synthesis of form and content, paired with poetry and music, allows the viewer to consider the commonalities in our collective consciousness. We all live under the same moon.