Topography of Quiet: Bastienne Schmidt
January 2015 – German-born artist Bastienne Schmidt’s abstract works are reflections of her transient lifestyle and intellectual journeys. By combining the notions of travel, her profound yet understated pieces trace the significance of environment on the human imagination and serve as a documentation of her personal search for identity and place. Schmidt’s recent exhibition Topography of Quiet, accompanied by a book of the same name, is a continued exploration of personal character through physiographic changes and demonstrates her penchant for collecting and mapping through her multifaceted artistic process.
Schmidt was born in Germany but raised between Greece and Italy. The daughter of an archeologist, she spent her childhood surrounded by her father’s work. This instilled in her a desire to organize and understand systems through her artwork. Schmidt has a curiosity for understanding both tangible and intangible phenomena. Her attempts at arranging this data manifest in delicate compositions that mold familiar objects into complex symbols to reveal the rhythms and patterns of the physical and psychological space around us.
Schmidt’s current body of work, recently on display at Ricco Maresca Gallery, is largely inspired by natural patterns and typologies she discovered during her extensive travels to Egypt, Vietnam, Japan, Burma and Greece. Her paintings and drawings are coupled with abstracted photographic compositions that explore the indirect interaction between nature and fantasy. The launch of her latest book is also accompanying the exhibition. Schmidt’s previous publication “Home Stills” follows the journey of a fictional housewife venturing out into different landscapes. “Topography of Quiet” is a continuation of her previous book yet foregoes the figurative character in favor of focusing on space as its own disorienting entity indicative of the complexities and changing viewpoints reflected in our own identities.
Bastienne Schmidt is based in New York City. Her work has been shown in over 80 exhibitions among them the International Center of Photography in New York, The Museum fuer Kunst und Gewerbe in Hamburg and the Southeast Museum in Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida. She is in the public collections of Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, France; Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, New York, NY Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Guild Hall, Easthampton, NY; International Center for Photography, New York, NY and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY, among others. She has published five monographs and was awarded the best Photo Book Prize in Germany in 2005.