OXFORD, MS .- The University of Mississippi Museum
will continue its trend of modern exhibits with Paintings Drawings Prints from renowned artist Peri Schwartz. Her work has been exhibited extensively throughout the country and is included in the permanent collections of museums in the US and Europe.
Schwartz's self-portraits as well as her still lifes and studio interiors focus on composition, color, light and space. She doesn't refer to herself as either an abstract or figurative artist. Her search is for abstraction while working directly from life.
Schwartz grew up in Far Rockaway, NY. From an early age she aspired to be an artist. As a child she drew with pen and ink and took painting classes. "When I was young I kept telling people I was going to be an artist," Schwartz said. "I remember going with my mother to a local art gallery to frame some of my work. I was impressed by the work they were exhibiting and selling - prints by Picasso, Braque and Miro. The owner liked my work and encouraged me. That was the first time someone outside of my family acknowledged my work."
Schwartz went on to receive her BFA from Boston University in 1973 and her MFA from Queens College in 1975. Through the years Schwartz has worked in a broad range of mediums. The University Museum will be exhibiting her oil paintings, watercolors, charcoal drawings, monotypes and etchings. She is particularly happy with this show as it gives her the opportunity to exhibit all the mediums she has used throughout her life as an artist. Schwartz said, "This exhibit emphasizes how important it has been for me to work in different mediums. Printmaking and drawing are crucial to my development in oil painting."
As with most exhibits unveiled at the University Museum, Schwartz's work is of particular academic and educational interest. Marti Funke, Collectors Manager, spoke of her process and how it applies to art history theory. "Her work hits on every single theory in art history. Her being academically trained, the work addresses all the terms that are used in art classes. Obviously there's an educational benefit to seeing lines, form and color. The fact that she makes great work with perspective and line, it offers interesting material for a lot of people. Hopefully the art classes will learn from it as well as students who just enjoy something new. There's a lot left to the imagination that I find very exciting."
Funke said that Schwartz does an incredible job of allowing her audience to peer into her visual world. "You can tell what's there, it's just not Hyperrealism. I think that's one of the unique things. We show a lot of photography and truly abstract art that is inspired by nature, such as Ben Butler. Peri sets up situations in her own space to create what she is after. She puts you in that space and your imagination allows you to fill in the rest. There's a vagueness and abstraction to what you are seeing even though you can feel like you're in the scene with the jars, tables and windows."
Rebecca Phillips, Membership, Events and Communication Coordinator, said, "It is also nice that we will exhibit another living artist. She will give a lecture and then a gallery talk, so students and community members will get to learn about her struggles and process. This is fascinating because patrons will be able to pick her brain. We all thought that she would be interesting because she uses different mediums. Usually we just show paintings, sculptures or photography. This is a blend of paintings, drawings and prints that will hopefully reach a broader audience."
Schwartz said, "I'm looking forward to seeing what the art students at Ole Miss are doing and excited to see my work exhibited at the University Museum. The earliest etching in the show was done in 1983 and the most recent studio painting just this year. I work in the studio and things look familiar. When they hang in a museum they are removed from me and out in the world."
Schwartz will be here for an artist reception on October 27th and for a lecture in the gallery on October 28th.
Exhibition dates: September 22, 2015-January 3, 2016