Hanita Schwartz Opulent Pages [On Exhibition] September 3 - 26 2016
Installation view, left to right: Pictura Moderna, p. 47, Caspar David Friedrich, 2016 and Pictura Moderna, p. 60, Francesco Hayez, 2016
Faded to Ghosts
Ariel Williams is an artist, teacher, and volunteer at Seed Space
When I first saw Hanita Schwartz’s photographs, they were layered on the floor between sheets of brown paper, fresh from the printer’s and curling at the edges. Large enough to require two pairs of hands for transport, the photographs felt heavy and refused to cooperate with our demand that they hang flat. After the slow pull of gravity (and a few hours of straightening and smoothing), the images stayed to the wall. But nothing else about Schwartz’s work is quite so two-dimensional. This is what the show looks like: three walls of five large archival pigment prints, and a projected film. The scale of the prints (most are over three feet high) fills the room, yet a generous amount of free space buffers each image. One image, by itself near the corner, is of an iconic Goya painting (a seated woman in a gold dress, the arms and bust recognizable), the face obscured by a hole in the surface – a second, and then third, layer visible through a ripped portal (an effect achieved by cutting and erasing the images printed in an art history book). On another wall is a diptych: a Fragonard painting of a girl reading a love letter, her head and hands faded to a dusty, granular pink and gray. Below her book, like a table before her chair, hangs another print showing several figures, faded to ghosts, gathered around a
The Story of Painting, p.178, Caravaggio, detail
dining table (from a Caravaggio painting). Other works include a Caspar David Friedrich iceberg – a jagged grey and blue form – and a luxurious, rococo painting of a woman being enveloped by the same abstract gray (The Kiss, by Francesco Hayez). The film is a single-channel loop of the artist’s process as performance, her hand appearing to pinch an object in an image, or wielding a flashlight and other tools in her surgical manipulation of reproduced images. There are satisfying contradictions and coincidences in the rich colors of an erased surface, or a perfectly positioned face peering through a hole in the page, or the seamless illusion of the page’s frayed edge continued by the print’s frayed edge – the work of a razor blade on the final surface. Schwartz’s interventions speak to the stratified quality of history, of books and of reproduction itself. Her labors – rubbing, cutting, smoothing, ripping – offset the legacy of these primordial artists. Layers upon layers upon layers of pages and images seem to have moved through time to drape heavily like tapestries, on these walls. I already know the answer, but it’s so poetic to ask: if I turn these opulent pages, will I find something underneath?
Front page: Pictura Moderna, p. 17, Francisco Goya, 2016 Back page: installation view, Opulent Pages, single channel projection, 2015
About the Artist Hanita Schwartz was born in Tel-Aviv, Israel in a four-bedroom apartment where she saw the devil hanging above her head in the form of a European tapestry. Later, she would hang that tapestry as a logo at Andralamusya, a performance art space which she launched in 2013. At Andralamusya, Schwartz has directed, produced and participated in original performances by over 50 artists. She received her MFA in 2010 from the University of Washington and a Fine Arts and Art Education degree from Hamidrahsa College of Art in 2000. Schwartz has exhibited her work throughout Israel and Seattle, including CoCa, Soil gallery, Jacob Lawrence gallery, Vignette and PCNW, and has performed at the NEPO 5K and the Seattle April Fest.
About Seed Space Seed Space is a lab for site-specific installation, sculpture and performance-based art in Nashville. We support our program in three specific ways. We bring in nationally recognized art critics to write our exhibition essays. We host regularly scheduled public talks. We facilitate meetings among artists, critics and curators. Through these means we aim to foster an exchange between a growing network of local and national artistic communities, which we believe is one of the best ways to support the careers of emerging artists. Located in the Track One building in the Wedgewood Houston neighborhood of Nashville, Seed Space is supported by the Nashville Cultural Arts Project (NCAP), and is made possible with grants from the Tennessee Arts Commission, the Metro Nashville Arts Commission and The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.
Gallery Director Rachel Bubis | Program Director Andri Alexandrou email@example.com | firstname.lastname@example.org www.seedspace.org
With essay by artist Ariel Williams