Harsh Park: New Works by Louis Schmidt @ TFR Gallery, Encinitas

July 31, 2013

.T.F.R. Gallery is pleased to present Harsh Park, a solo-exhibition featuring new works by Brooklyn-based artist, writer, and curator Louis Schmidt. The title “Harsh Park” plays with the collision between severity and tranquility, progress and disguised regression. Beginning with inspiration from current news events, Schmidt pushes towards more oblique observations and an abstracted consideration of our relationship to the space that our events occur in: psychological space, political space, geographical space, and especially historical space. Amongst the series are figures, oval shapes that resemble heads, some with reductive colors gesturing toward skin tones, abstraction, geometric shapes and patterns, poetic fragments, and monochromatic voids.

Schmidt’s work has been predominately executed in ink, a choice that sought to retain the efforts of the hand. This new body of work is exclusively drawn in pencil, a shift in material that still maintains this transparency of process. Even the most precise drawings in this exhibition retain traces of erasure, errant lines, and layer upon layer of surface marking.

Schmidt takes inspiration from an array of contemporary artists as well as a selection of historical artists including the duo Bernd and Hilla Becher who photographed extensive series of industrial buildings and structures, abstract expressionist painter Cy Twombly, and conceptual artist Sol Lewitt. Like many artists of the late 19th and early 20th century, Schmidt’s work in Harsh Park responds to the roundabout historical confluences through which we arrived at our particular point in history. However, instead of providing a deterministic illustration of our times, Schmidt aims to open up the viewer’s understanding. To quote Susan Sontag, Schmidt proclaims, “All my work says ‘be serious, be passionate, wake up!”

Born and raised in rural, central Illinois, Louis M Schmidt bounced around a lot as a young person before landing in Boulder, Colorado, where he stayed for ten years. It was there that he began seriously studying art: he was awarded a BFA in Studio Art (with Summa cum Laude honors) and a BA in Art History from the University of Colorado in 2004. He went on to earn an MFA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego in 2010. Schmidt has shown frequently in southern California and has participated in many group exhibitions both domestic and international. He is very active in the self-publishing world, and this year will mark his fifth year participating in the New York Art Book Fair at MoMA P.S.1. Schmidt has upcoming solo shows at Park Life in San Francisco and Team Lump in Raleigh, NC. To follow his work, find him on Facebook/Instagram, or check out his blog: http://bridgethevoid.blogspot.com."