Carley Schmidt: MFA Thesis Exhibition

Opening: Friday, May 6, 2022 6 – 9 pm
Friday, May 6, 2022

1743 Commercial Avenue, Madison, WI 53704

Reception: Friday, May 6, 5-9pm (Coinciding with a performance in our Friday Jazz Series from 5-7pm. Click for information)

Tandem Press is pleased to host a Master of Fine Arts Thesis Exhibition by Carley Schmidt, University of Wisconsin-Madison MFA candidate and current Tandem Press curatorial project assistant. Schmidt’s work explores place as part of a narrative about human impact and intervention. Somewhere Between offers a depiction of the changing landscape through the lens of liminality. 

Artist Biography:

Carley Schmidt is a multi-disciplinary artist motivated by her relationship to landscape. She utilizes aspects of printmaking, papermaking, photography, and sculpture to explore place as part of a cumulative narrative about human impact and intervention. Schmidt attended the Glasgow School of Art in 2015 before graduating from Gonzaga University in 2017. Since then, she has exhibited work in places like Milwaukee, WI, Chicago, IL, and Sofia, Bulgaria. She has been the Artist-in-Residence at Ne’Na Contemporary Art Space in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and at the Tallgrass Artist Residency in Matfield Green, Kansas. Schmidt is a recipient of the Glenn R. Allen Art Scholarship and the Gabriele S. Haberland Travel Award. She is currently an MFA Candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Project Assistant at Tandem Press.

Exhibition Statement:

Somewhere Between presents a poetic meditation on the changing landscape. This body of work combines photography, sculpture, handmade paper, and aquatint prints to situate notions of place. Engaging the language of geometric abstraction and the strategy of repetition, the prints and sculptures in this exhibition reflect mapped space and speak to a larger narrative of human impact and intervention.  

Each work offers a depiction of containment. The expansiveness of the sculptures’ imagery is interrupted by the boundaries of its own form. These visual cues recall how the sky, untouched and unending, differs from the land below the horizon, which takes on the human-drawn partitions brought by colonial development practices: manifested as fences, property lines, and other symbols of ownership.  

The unusual geometries of the works are derived from satellite photographs. The angular forms reference boundary lines found within the tallgrass prairie of Kansas, one of the most diminished landscapes in North America. The shapes create intentional limitations, bounding an image’s expanse to the edges of its irregular frame, or from one color field to the edge of another. When puzzled together, the forms generate a reflection, and a paradox that illuminates a fraught yet optimistic relationship between people and the lands we occupy. 

As the sculptures attempt to place borders onto the sky, the aquatint prints use the same boundaries to consider fluctuations on land. The repetition of imagery, coupled with subtle shifts in tonality, signifies the tangible passage of time. Recurrent forms disappear and reappear, existing in a constant state of flux, somewhere between presence and absence. Each print operates individually as a suspended moment in time, however, when taken together, the series becomes a collection of snapshots of an ever-evolving landscape. The land we know now will remain unchanged only in memory. That same land will long outlive us. 

This exhibition is made possible through support from the Anonymous Fund.