So thrilled to be included in this show full of my heroes!
Institute of Contemporary Art Boston
So thrilled to have my show "Shifting Sets" at Kai Matsumiya reviewed by Will Heinrich in the New York Times:
It took Zoe Pettijohn Schade as long as a year and a half to make each of the intricate large gouaches in “Shifting Sets,” a show lining the walls of Kai Matsumiya’s tidy Stanton Street gallery. Weirdly timeless meditations on death, they simultaneously evoke cutting-edge Photoshop effects and rococo wallpaper, with tiled and overlapping imagery that includes skulls from the Parisian catacombs; toy army men in marbleized silhouette; and delicate, color-graded pigeon feathers modeled on one blackening example the artist found in her garden.
What’s most fascinating, though, isn’t the pieces’ nominal content so much as the seeming evanescence of the labor that went into them: If you lean in close, you can see every semi-opaque brush stroke in every pale gray feather, but from any greater distance, such small evidences of the artist’s time and attention disappear in the overall dazzle.
The same kind of visual dynamic flickers across the whole of “Crowd of Crowds: 100th Monkey” (2017), which is covered in diagonal rows of grimacing, long-tailed primates. Because some of them are ghostly gray, and others mere silhouettes filled in with more feathers, skulls, or tombstones, it can take minutes of staring to notice just how simple the pattern is. WILL HEINRICH
I am to be presenting my second solo show at Kai Matsumiya Gallery!
Opening: March 30th, 6-8PM
March 30th - May 6th
Schade has spent years studying systems of pattern formation. She began by studying textiles and textile history, and through this study discovered the tradition of gouache paintings for textile patterns. For Schade, this obscure painting tradition has been revelatory for its complex structures, adventurous approach to mixing geometric abstraction and descriptive representations of objects and creatures, and its elaborate vocabulary of marks. Her research led to a Fulbright Research Scholar’s Grant in 2013 to spend 6 months at the Bibliotheque Forney in Paris working with a rare collection of anonymous gouache paintings for textiles from the 1700s. Her analysis of patterns has enabled her to find links between the structure and behavior of cells, networks, and information. Each painting involves an in depth exploration of a family, or set, of structures and images, and takes about a year and a half to complete.
Schade’s mode of working is marked by meticulous craft, reviving such ancient techniques as marbling and gilding. Maximal density is achieved through multi-levels of repeating imagery, with the structure of each layer as considered as the image itself. The disparate strata interact, testing the limits of the system she has created and causing unexpected patterns and associations to emerge. Embedded images hide in plain sight then rise to the eye at their own pace.
153 ½ Stanton Street
New York, York 10002
+1 617 678 4440
Wed – Sun 12- 6 pm
CROWDS (Thursday, March 26th - Saturday, May 9th)
Kai Matsumiya presents Zoe Pettijohn Schade’s solo exhibition “Crowds” at the space and will represent its first pure painting presentation. The verb “crowd” overwhelms and preoccupies, and as a noun, it refers to a large number of things collectively. These works uncover the complex relationships among structural patterning and its disruptions.
The weaving of images that are loaded with associations (monkeys, cotton-candy colored tombstones, feathers, decapitated kings, etc.) creates a dense field of relationships and meanings that are conceptually/historically rich. The images and the structures that organize them explore both the aspirations and the pitfalls of order. Her work is extremely labor intensive, as a painting (16”x22”) requires nearly two months for completion, and is composed of layers of images each of which is invented and executed by hand.
For the past decade the artist has been researching the obscure tradition of French gouache pattern painting for textiles from the 18th and 19th centuries. This work led to a Fulbright Research Scholars Grant to Paris in 2013, during which she strove to absorb the wild visual invention and genre disrupting approach of these anonymous painters and trained her hand in their language of intricate mark making. As an acknowledgement to her inspiration from this tradition, the show will include nine paintings from the early 1800s, courtesy of the Design Library in Wappingers Falls, NY, the world’s largest collection of design patterns. The exhibition will also present her meticulous studies in the form of drawings.
Reflecting on her work, Pettijohn Schade writes: “I try to achieve maximal density of layers in my paintings, both as a reflection of our experience in an image saturated world, and as a model of the structure of the unconscious. The unconscious is a potent reference for me in that it is a space where images and associations accrete and exert a kind of furtive power, like an elemental force that colors meaning.”
Crowds is scheduled to open on March 26th. (7:00-9:30). Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (617) 678 4440 for more details
I am excited to announce that I have been awarded the 2012-13 Fulbright U.S. Scholars Grant to Paris. It is to continue my drawings of a rare collection of gouache pattern paintings from the 1700s at the Bibliothèque Forney, and make full scale paintings in response. The grant is for six months beginning in February, 2013. I am so thrilled and honored!