Iris Schomaker

one day soon
February 8 − March 22, 2014

Iris Schomaker’s current works are paintings exclusively done on paper, in which she plays within the bounds of figurative representation and painterly abstraction. In doing so, the Berlin-based artist limits herself to the bare essentials. So, her alone-standing figures are found in emptied, obliquitous rooms, with few reference points. In contrast to her earlier works, in which the traces of the painting process and graphic form-finding stand in the foreground of the paintings, simplified almost to only shades of black and white, Schomaker’s new works have a stronger sense of graphic composition, along with an extended palette of bold colors. Abstract surfaces and rhythmic, crystalline forms combine to create spatial situations, where Schomaker's characters develop an iconic presence, which far from any religious implications, relate to the formal qualities of representation.

In her new, large-scale works, the artist shows moments of considerable privacy with individual figures, who in a lying or sitting position, while reading or deep in thought, isolate themselves from the outside world. The work, man reading/black fox, depicts a figure with clothed legs, lost in an open book and sitting in a chair. Under the chair is a black fox with its head resting on his front paws. This scene, which, at first glance, seems so familiar, however, evokes the impression within the viewer of having entered a secret, hidden place. Unnoticed, he lives from this moment, which appears to be frozen in movement. For, if he were to move even the slightest, it would stir the timid animal at his feet into motion.

While the man in man reading/black fox tries to avoid the gaze of the viewer, other characters of Schomaker are shown in frontal, almost confrontational and confident poses. Their faces are unrecognizable; blurred or blackened by the artist. The face as mechanism with which express is often left as empty in her paintings, in which she grants the characters a “right” of privacy and simultaneously offers the viewer a projection surface as well as avoiding him entirely. The identification of the figure appears to become equally secondary as the question of whether they are male or female. The androgynous characters, which carry no apparent individual characteristics, materialize as “apparitions”— “Perhaps the right question to ask of Schomaker’s figures is not who they are, but rather, where did they come from? While at the same time knowing that it is both impossible and undesirable to pin one of her figures down.” (Dominic Eichler, Figures Emerge, in: Iris Schomaker. Speak More Truth, The Green Box, 2012)