Judith Schaechter – Philadelphia Treasure

Child Bride, Judith Schaechter, 2001. Linocut. Courtesy, Free Library of Philadelphia Print & Picture Collection.

Child Bride, Judith Schaechter, 2001. Linocut. Courtesy, Free Library of Philadelphia Print & Picture Collection.

Judith Schaechter is a Philadelphia treasure. Trained in painting and stained glass at the Rhode Island School of Design, Schaechter has developed a compelling art practice. She refers to her work as “decorative art”, since it is intended for architectural installations: windows, skylights, light boxes. But never mistake her decorative label for lightweight subjects or frivolous intentions. Schaechter takes on the most serious subjects in her decorative mode.

Child Bride, detail,  Judith Schaechter, 2001. Linocut. Courtesy, Free Library of Philadelphia Print & Picture Collection

Child Bride, detail, Judith Schaechter, 2001. Linocut. Courtesy, Free Library of Philadelphia Print & Picture Collection

Child Bride, a two color linocut she produced at the Rutgers Center for Innovative Print and Paper for Philagrafika’s 2001 Philadelphia Invitational Portfolio, depicts a young girl, well dressed, lying prostrate on the ground, vomiting up a stream of flowers, against a decorative background. This is not a happy, light, decorative image. It is a heavy, serious imaged, evoking emotions of concern for the young girl, perhaps forced into marriage while still a child, vomiting up the innocence she is about to forfeit forever. Wow.

Schaechter graduated from RISD in 1983, and immediately began showing her work here in Philadelphia. She has been showing and teaching regularly since then. 2 of her prints and 2 stained glass pieces are owned by the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

When asked why her work is so negative and depressing, she responded with this quote from James Poniewozik in the January 17, 2005 Time Magazine article, “The Art of Unhappiness”:

“What we forget…is that happiness is more than pleasure sans pain.  The things that bring us the greatest joy carry the greatest potential for disappointment.  Today, surrounded by promises of easy happiness, we need someone to tell us that it is O.K. not to be happy, that sadness makes happiness deeper.”

Judith Schaechter is that someone.

For more information on Schaechter, visit her website: http://www.judithschaechter.com/Home.html

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