Ursula Schneider is a Swiss artist who has been teaching at Sarah Lawrence College since 1986. Her art show on display at the Barbara Walters Gallery in Heimbold is titled ‘Always There, Imagine,’ referring to not being able to always see the meaning of something at first. “When you do artwork, you hopefully draw it upon of what has personal meaning for you," Schneider explained. "That meaning is not always readily available to you, you sometimes have to work on something to find that.” As an artist, her job is to be constantly dynamic, always exploring different paths of thought to find the same answer. “Whatever it is you have to say is always there. It’s already there. It comes out of who you are, what you have experienced, and how you think. The content you may have might change over time, so you [continue to] think,” she said.
This is demonstrated in her series of four paintings that reflect her different approaches to how she sees the Hudson River (Fireworks Hudson River, Asters & Asteroids, May Hudson River, and February Hudson River). Though each painting portrays the same location, they look vastly different showing the effects of season and perspective.
Fireworks Hudson River reflects a state of celebration and positivity while Asters & Asteroids complements it in that it reflects opposite mood in worry and dark matter. “I just wanted to paint what I saw,” Schneider explained. “Over the few years that I’ve been doing these paintings, after I’ve done about four or five of them, I realized with the season the color changes and the way everything looks; the light is different and everything.” While she only decided to show four of these paintings, she has completed a total of 14 45”x94” paintings showing her different viewpoints of the Hudson River.
Schneider's art usually draws inspiration from nature, but in this show she focuses more on how she thinks and how that way of thinking comes through in her perception of the world around her. In her series of smaller, geometric paintings, Schneider shows how ideas play with each other. Sometimes, ideas even battle against each other, as shown in Two Pies. In her woodcuts, she achieves her goal of creating “regularity out of the random” by using multiple, unplanned overlays of different colors. Schneider clarified, “When you look in a tree… it looks all jumbled up and different. But, if you start really looking at the tree you can look for things which repeat themselves. Patterns. So this is kind of like what I’m doing here. So in [that] way, it does relate to nature.”
One of the most interesting pieces in the show is titled Spirals. Schneider designed it by cutting old, “rejected” paintings in a spiral shape. As she was experimenting with it, Schneider decided that she wanted this piece to show consistency in the way that she worked with color and movement. “I like it because it’s like looking at the water moving, and the way the light works on it,” she said.
'Always There, Imagine' will be on display in the Barbara Walters Gallery in Heimbold through April 30. You can see more of Schneider's art at www.ursulaschneider.com.
by Emily Dusic ‘17