Art exhibit on view through March 26 at Westmont museum
In her exhibit, “Marie Schoeff: Amplifying the Between,” the Santa Barbara artist explores a profound yet unpretentious relationship with nature and spirituality.
“Marie relies on attentive study of the actual world. Her artistic processes create an amplification of commonplace experiences that transport the viewer between earthly and intangible realms,” said Judy L. Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and director of the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art, where the works are on display through March 26.
“Ms. Schoeff’s imagery, rooted in drawing, explores the ethereal, a transcendent space in a spiritual realm. Her strong sense of physical place creates a unique attachment to lines of latitude and longitude where one spends significant time.”
Ms. Schoeff, a native of Moscow, Idaho, graduated from Cal State Sacramento and earned a master of fine arts in painting/drawing at Hunter College in New York City. In 1983, she and her husband, Dane Goodman, moved to Santa Barbara, where she taught art at UCSB, Santa Barbara City College and Westmont.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Ms. Schoeff’s work shifted from landscapes to iconic female forms using sensual color, rounded shapes and flowerlike bodies. Drawing the female body was also a very personal response to raising her young daughter.
Another major influence at this time was Ms. Schoeff’s immersion into the writings of Carl Jung and his theories on archetypes, dreams, symbolism and the collective unconscious.
“I respond particularly to Jung’s premise that humans are innately image-makers,” she said. “My studies of Jung’s work encouraged me to pursue my own pictorial language, with faith in its ability to connect to others on a more primal level. I see my lines and forms as stand-ins for the female body and references to universal experience
“Female forms in my work echo my reflections on being a woman, a mother and a daughter. Drawing for me is a meditative process, an amplification of the between, the linking of the ordinary with the spiritual. I suppose my work traces my life experience.”
In the early 2000s, Ms. Schoeff experimented with printmaking, resulting in a group of large-scale monotype and drypoint prints.
“Amplifying the Between” features a selection of her recent multi-sheet prints and other works that were begun in 2014 and completed during one of seven summer residencies that Ms. Schoeff organized with fellow artists, Linda Ekstrom and Linda Foster.
“Marie’s imagery reveals beauty – humble truths that make us, the viewers, feel encouraged or gratified,” Ms. Larson said.