Bastienne Schmidt: Silhouette Vessels

17 May - 16 June 2012
Press release

Ricco/Maresca Gallery is pleased to present Silhouette Vessels, an exhibition of paintings by Bastienne Schmidt. In this series of thirty works on paper, the artist explores the innate connection she has to the concept of “vessel”, stemming from her childhood in Greece as the daughter of an archeologist. These powerful yet allusive paintings are based on images of ancient vases, such as lekythoi, amphorae, or kylikes in tones of red earth, which the artist infuses with memory and process. Schmidt uses a medium of water-down polymer paints mixed with pigments and espresso coffee on paper, which she applies wet-into-wet, creating varied passages of color, shape and depth. Each work exudes a dramatic stillness, as it explores the typology of a solitary vessel, its outline and its interior, within the parameters of the picture plane. Each vessel in turn informs the subsequent vessel as the vessels unfold and evolve.


Already acclaimed for her photography, Bastienne Schmidt’s recent paintings continue to reflect upon the themes of womanhood, female identity, and domesticity on both a deeply personal level and a broader cultural level. Seeing the world as she does—through a broad but uniquely personal metaphoric and symbolic ‘lens’—results in work that is both reflexive and reflective. It is reflexive, in that she allows herself to enter the framework of a project as both the portrayer and the portrayed. In her published photography series, Home Stills, she places herself before the camera in the context of mother, wife, domestic worker, naturalized citizen, traveler, feminist symbol and faceless proxy for ‘everywoman’ in similar multi-faceted roles, bringing drama and political impact to her work. It is reflecting on those very life memories, associations, abstractions and extensions of logic that allows her to serve as an artistic ‘bridge’ between her interior world and the larger one outside – realigning and layering meaning as she creates.

– Richard J. Friswell, Managing Editor,


Bastienne Schmidt is a German-American multi-media artist, whose formative years were spent in Greece and Italy. The artist has had numerous solo exhibitions in the United States and abroad, including the International Center for Photography, New York, NY. Four monographs of her photography have been published (Vivir la Muerte, American Dreams, Shadowhome and Home Stills). Her work is in private and public collections including the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington D.C., and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, England. This is Bastienne Schmidt’s first solo exhibition at Ricco/Maresca Gallery, New York.

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