WASHINGTON, PA (Sept. 7, 2012)—Using the floors, windows and walls around him as a canvas, Patrick Schmidt, associate professor of art at Washington & Jefferson College (W&J), creates works of art that engage viewers interactively.
Exhibiting his drawing in New York City now through Sept. 29, Schmidt's work is made of colored electrical tape affixed to a picture window in jagged geometric shapes. He said he starts with a pattern from wallpaper or fabric, and then digitizes and manipulates it to make it more interesting.
“It begins to take on a life of its own. I am just a facilitator,” Schmidt said. “Placing the work on the floor, ceiling, walls, and suspended within space engages viewers interactively by creating yet another in-between space to play. Displaying the work is collaboration/performance between the artist, architecture or space, and the preparer/viewer as the work could change physically and visually, revealing new inquiry and experience.”
Schmidt did not examine the space before beginning his work there but said he had some ideas “in his head,” and that the “space dictates the direction” he goes.
“I have no idea how it is going to look,” he said. “I like the spontaneity. I become part of the performance, interact with the public and become a colorful part of the neighborhood for a time.”
The storefront gallery is called chashama 1351 and the exhibition is partially funded by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts. The storefront is on loan to chashama 1351, a nonprofit organization that obtains empty storefronts in New York City where artists can exhibit.
“Exhibiting in places like New York City becomes very exciting, this possibility of elevating your work to the next level,” Schmidt added.