Filled with faint traces of everyday objects, Schwartz’s shadowy still lives possess a kind of lightness that acknowledges the dark. As if seen through a tinny x-ray her images play with perception, abstracting the stuff of life into soft, haloed shapes. Spare surfaces and thin washes depict traditionally feminine things: flowers in vases on draped and patterned fabrics, odd keepsakes asymmetrically stacked and on the verge of anti form, bits of ephemera made precious. Like old photos blushing with technicolor, Schwartz’s strange scenes exist awkwardly, as if found in a foreign land–one that is excruciatingly lovely and painfully bright.
To signal memory we employ a blurry image, the hazy focus reflecting the supposed impressional vagaries of memory. Schwarz’s paintings employ this method, yet sidestep the initial sappiness of nostalgia: the subjects of contemplation are too mundane to withstand emotional scrutiny. Domestic subjects become soft stains scrubbed free of narrative detail, crisply hemmed into existence by flat tonalities, which tend to show more character, more will to life, than the wilting items exposed. Humbly sized, the eradicated still lives tenuously collapse the grand narrative of formal abstraction with a humanist concern for the fragile banal.
images courtesy of Dutton Gallery