Interview: Anne B. Schwartz
Luca Curci talks with Anne B. Schwartz, WINNER of the ARTIST OF THE MONTH – AUGUST 2022.
Anne Brawer Schwartz is a dedicated abstractionist whose painterly imagination remains grounded in the world of places and things. While pursuing a degree in Graphic Design from the University of Oregon and further studies at the Gemological Institute of America, Schwartz always maintained a painting practice, which she kept up during her 30-year career as a renowned couture jewelry designer. The legacy of her expertise as a designer is apparent in her abstract paintings and their considerations of detail, drawing, design principles, color, texture, and refracted light. Having some years ago rededicated herself to her painting studio, today her canvases have been shown in numerous group shows and are represented in collections around the world. She frequently works with art consultants and interior designers, placing her works in businesses, hotels, private homes, and design firms. Being based in LA, her paintings have naturally also been featured in numerous television shows and motion pictures.
Approaching art history with a flair for abstract expressivity and a designer’s confidence in choreographing fundamentals of color and shape, Schwartz wields a palette knife along with brushes to animate prismatic color stories in thickly applied oil paint. Her Crystal Auras series are opalescent mixed media paintings created with countless layers of acrylic saturated with mica, interference pigment, and natural minerals that glisten like geodes, and bounce light across their auric topographies. Her largest project, Ricordi d’Italia, merges her explorations of the mellifluous properties of color, light, and surface with direct inspiration drawn from travels to Italy. While these paintings still possess the ethereal presence of Crystal Auras, they demonstrate a more formally definitive, architectural sensibility, being derived from photographic source sketches highlighting geometric details culled from vistas and ruins. At the same time, operations of memory, deconstruction, and fantasy combine to render them in an abstract language, producing moody palimpsests and evocative scenic impressions.
In the Burst collection, we see small, intimate sections of works from Ricordi d’Italia enlarged into wholly new paintings -gestural compositions whose exotic rhythms are deeply influenced by her studies of Asian Sumi – e ink painting, which reveals their inner lives as she teases their essences forward from within their faceted depths.
With Shapes, Schwartz’s newest series, paintings contain simpler sculptured shapes derived from memories of her jewelry designing career. Here, vibrant colors define sleek forms and gem-like angles that clarify and contrast with each other and with the flowing, organic forms introduced in Burst. Yet, befitting of their inspirational source, the elegant lines and crystalline planes complement each other in the way that the elements of fine jewelry meld to fashion an exquisite whole.
Luca Curci – What is art for you?
Anne B. Schwartz – Art for me is life.
LC – What are your thoughts while you paint? Do you have any habits or rituals while you work?
ABS – When I begin painting, I turn on the music, lay down some colors, and simply paint. I don’t think much. I just enjoy the process. After the painting progresses, I think about it, step back, and paint some more. I keep doing this until all the problems in the painting have been solved. At times the painting is completed in a matter of days or weeks. Sometimes it takes months. When I paint, it is like the waves in the ocean. Good, bad, good, bad. I am always hoping for good!
LC – Did your style change over the years? In which way?
ABS – Yes. When I began my new painting career, I painted only in my Crystal Aura series. I was still attached to jewellery design and my work reflected that. As the years progressed, I added three more series to my art practice. They are all different but share a common diameter.
LC – How do you feel when you see your work completed?
ABS – A painting is completed when all the problems in the piece have been solved. Sometimes I am excited, almost gleeful when a painting is completed. Other times, when the results are not as successful as I would like, I put the painting down. Although it may be finished, I am not always thrilled with the outcome. This does not reflect on the success of the piece, however. Some of my favorite paintings haven’t sold while some of my least favorite have.
LC – Do you think ITSLIQUID GROUP can represent an opportunity for artists?
ABS – I hope so!