Gary Schneider ‘Art on Paper’ Review

Faye Hirsch may 2002

Gary Schneider, Rose 1989 (2001) a photogravure with chine colle in an edition of 25 plus five artist’s proofs and two printer’s proofs.

Gary Schneider, Rose 1989 (2001) a photogravure with chine colle in an edition of 25 plus five artist’s proofs and two printer’s proofs. It measures 25×29-1/2 in. (paper) and 19×23 in. (image) and was printed on Okawara paper colleed to Somerset White paper by Randy Hemminghaus at Galamander Press, New York. It doesn’t get any more lush than this ultra-seductive botanical, which makes Mapplethorp’s flowers seem almost innocent in comparison. Schneider is best known for images of his own body (Genetic Self-Portrait), but more recently has created a number of photographs of flora – not only of a botanical but also of an intestinal variety, as seen under the microscope. Here he montages several stages of a rose’s life, brought to a close by his having plucked the petals himself. Every detail, from silken petals to leathery leaves to the menacing stigma and anthers, conveys a dark, necrophilic sensuality. In regarding the face-off, as it were, between the living and the dead (or, to be more accurate, zombie) rose, it’s hard to avoid the associating with a kind of death-and-the-maiden scenario. Price: $1,250. Also, Genetic Self-Portrait – Irises (2002), a photogravure with color roll in diptych format in an edition of 35 plus five artist’s proofs and two printer’s proofs. It measures 27×47 in. and was printed from two plates (18-1/2×18-3/4 in. each) on Somerset White paper, also by Hemminghaus at Galamander.

Schneider is apparently enjoying the effects achieved with ink rather that with silver emulsion. He instantly saw the potential for textural depth, as achieved in Rose, and turned to a pair of photos from his Genetic Self-Portrait series, showing his own eyes in intense close-up. Pupils contract and irises swim about – perhaps a bit too much for a gelatin silver print. Here the photogravure plate was printed over a transparent burnt-orange surface roll, which gives the irises a translucency that works extremely well with the inky anchoring of the gravure. The irises seem intensely trained on some impossible object, certainly not the viewer – there is more of a gaze between the living and the zombie roses in Rose 1989. These two photogravures are an auspicious beginning for what is evidently going to be a series of ambitious projects by Schneider in the medium. Price: $3,000. Both published by David Krut Fine Art, New York.