STUDIO VISIT: DAVID SCHOERNER
David’s probably best known for his work as a publisher (he founded Hassla Books in 2007, going on to produce editions by artists such as Sam Falls, Kate Steciw, and Mercelo Gomes) and as a photographer whose use of traditional genres, particularly portraiture and still-life, call to mind people like Roe Ethridge and Tom Sandberg. Between these two pursuits, he’s established himself as someone with a deep investment in the process and practice of photography.
The images of new work he’s been posting online for the past few months, though, suggest a definite shift in focus: instead of his familiar shots of ocean waves and contemplative women, David has been busy producing monochrome paintings, abstract polaroids, text-based drawings, even super 8 films. This transition towards a broader fine arts practice seems to be an increasingly common one among young photographers, and the more I saw of David’s new work, the more I wanted to talk with him about what lead to this change in direction. Towards that end, he was nice enough to have me over to his Clinton Hill studio this week, show me the work up-close, and discuss where he sees his practice going.
The studio has a lot going on - a series of small watercolor-on-linen paintings in progress; a 4x5 camera pointed at the wall, the sheet of polaroid film within exposed for the duration of the day’s studio time; a pile of abstract watercolors of the female form (my personal favorites of the work I saw); sheets torn from (his own) photography zines, the images painted over with acrylic paint. Much of the work displays a previously-unseen element of humor (one of his recent projects came in the form of beer koozies reading “I Get Sad, I Drink” and “I Drink, I Get Sad”), and the color blue features prominently throughout.
I’ll leave it to David to explain for himself this shift in his practice. In looking at the shots below, though, I think one can easily draw connections between this work and what we’ve seen from him previously, both in terms of imagery (eg, the small blue paintings and monochrome polaroids both visually recall his ocean waves motif) and concept (there remains a clear interest in the connection between images and memory, as well as in the act of appropriating/altering/recontextualizing existing materials to yield a new result that’s at once personal and enigmatic).
Be sure to check out David’s work HERE, HERE, and HERE.
Below are some photos from my visit: