Wendi Schneider is Denver-based visual artist illuminating impressions of grace and serenity in the natural world with photography and precious metals. Her work is influenced by the lush landscapes of Memphis and New Orleans, her collection of art and antiques from the turn of the twentieth century, and a background in painting and art history - in particular the work of Steichen, Whistler, and other Pictorialists and Tonalists. She turned to photography in the early 1980s to create references for her paintings, then combined the mediums. After moving to New York in 1988, she also photographed for advertising, book covers and Victoria Magazine. She moved to Denver in 1994, working in commissioned photography, art direction, and design, returning to fine art photography in 2012 with her ongoing ‘States of the Grace’ series. Her photographs have been collected, published and exhibited internationally, including Art Basel and AIPAD, and are held in permanent collections at New Orleans Museum of Art, Memphis Brooks Museum, the Center for Creative Photography, and Auburn University Library, among others. She is represented by A Gallery For Fine Photography in New Orleans, Catherine Couturier Gallery in Houston, and Galeria Photographic in San Miguel de Allende, and sits on the executive board of the Colorado Photographic Arts Center.
States of Grace
My work in the ‘States of Grace’ series is rooted in the serenity I find in the sinuous elegance of organic forms. I’m transformed in capturing the stillness of a suspended movement of light amidst the chaos of the world, and compelled to preserve the visual poetry of these fleeting moments of vanishing beauty in our vulnerable environment.
I photograph intuitively – what I feel, as much as what I see. Informed by a background in painting and art history, I layered oils on silver gelatin prints in the '80s and '90s to find balance between the real and the imagined. My images are now layered digitally with color and texture, often altered within the edition, honoring the inconsistency. Printed on translucent vellum or kozo, these heightened realities are illuminated with white gold, moon gold, 24k gold or silver on verso, creating a luminosity that varies as the viewer's position and ambient light transition. My process infuses the artist’s hand and suffuses the treasured subjects with the implied spirituality and sanctity of the precious metals - insuring each print is a unique object of reverence.
The 'States of Grace' series has evolved organically into series within series that can be curated by subject, feeling or treatment. In 'Evenings with the Moon' I contemplate the power of universal experiences to unify and find transcendence, engaging the moon as muse. Printed on vellum or kozo and gilded with precious metals, the subjects echo the luminosity of their celestial inspiration. My images of the night draw on the metaphor of darkness and light to express our shared longing for freedom, peace, love, and harmony amidst the chaos of the world. This synthesis of form and content, paired with poetry and music, allows the viewer to consider the commonalities in our collective consciousness. We all live under the same moon.
The Patina Collection is an assemblage of gilded prints in the State of Grace series paired with antique frames – the synthesis of 40 years of collecting turn-of-the-twentieth-century art and objects and creating images inspired by the sinuous elegance of organic forms. The serpentine shapes are echoed in the subjects I photograph and the undulating curves of the Art Nouveau frames that house these works. I photograph intuitively – what I feel as much as what I see – and I strive to make the intangible tangible, preserving the visual poetry of these vanishing moments of beauty in our vulnerable environment. My images are layered digitally to manipulate the boundaries between the real and imagined, often altered within the edition to honor the inconsistency. Printed on kozo or vellum, white gold, moon gold or 24k gold leaf is applied on the verso, infusing the artist’s hand and suffusing the subjects with the spirituality of the precious metal. Each of these unique framed prints is a one-of-a-kind object of reverence.