Charlotte Schmid-Maybach: Altered Landscapes
Charlotte Schmid-Maybach has recently opened a solo exhibition of Altered Landscapes, at Themes + Projects Gallery in San Francisco, with a reception tonight from 4pm to 7pm. The exhibition is on view until 10/29/22. The work is a continuation of her physical exploration photographs through sewing, cutting, painting and assemblage, into a new form that she identifies as phototapestries. The tapestries reveal a fluidity and a new way of exploring and elevating the surface of a photograph. This unique language transforms photography into new worlds of texture, detail, and dimension. We find ourselves in a liminal space between what is real and what is expanded into new ways of seeing.
Charlotte Schmid-Maybach is a photographer and mixed media artist based in Los Angeles. Originally from San Francisco, she earned her BA from UC Berkeley in South Asian civilization and MA in photojournalism from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Her background as an archaeological photographer in Pakistan and fifteen years as a newspaper photojournalist have informed her artwork. Charlotte started studying with artist Tom Wudl in Los Angeles in 2016 and made the transition to a full time studio practice. She was a recipient of the Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 award in 2021. Her work has been shown at Themes+Projects, Fuller Craft Museum, Neutra Institute Museum, Lois Lambert Gallery, Center for Photographic Art, Colburn School of Music, Brand Gallery, A. Smith Gallery and other galleries. Her work is held in private collections in the U.S.
Follow Charlotte Schmid-Maybach on Instagram: @clsmstudio
With this new body of work I’m deepening my investigation into altered landscapes, both natural and urban. I combine photography with thread, found objects, maps, iridescent paint, buttons, lace. I sew over and into my photographs until the threads integrate with the photographic images to create a new object: phototapestries.
I begin by making archival pigment prints on kozo paper. Then I use free motion embroidery to draw/sew with a wide color palette of metallic and mixed thread. I started sewing on my photographs in 2018 with one line of hand stitching, and since then, the work has grown into a detailed process involving layers of thread, assemblage and collage.
I sew along the lines of the forest photographs and seek out the in between spaces of urban landscapes with thread. Train tracks echo city streets resemble branching paths in the woods. For the larger pieces I use a grid format to stitch together different views of the landscape. The grid helps me organize and create a more nuanced experience of environments that are meaningful to me.
Sewing allows me to get my hands into the photograph, and thread changes the photographs into something more dimensional and textural. Thread is a transformational element in my work, and the finished pieces feel like fabric. The threads also blur the line between what’s real in the photograph and what’s beyond the picture or imagined. The metallic threads in the forest pieces evoke fairy tales and the history of the forest with no humans present. In the city, a car disappears in the fog, a figure walks alone on a street and the viewer gets the feeling that something is about to happen.
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