Art is a tricky thing and I often question my own tastes. Then I walk into someone’s apartment and see a black and white print, likely purchased from the contraception-averse folks over at Hobby Lobby, of the Eiffel tower and suddenly I feel a lot better. For the past few months I’ve been increasingly drawn to Aurel Schmidt’s irreverent and often haunting drawings. The longer and closer you look at them, the more you appreciate the intricacies that make up their overall compositions – which can be deceivingly pretty – a word likely deigned by the artist in question.
Schmidt is candid in interviews and much like her art – isn’t afraid of putting forth a duplicitous message. In an interview with New York Magazine, Schmidt was asked what she meant in an earlier statement claiming that she liked to draw, “dicks a lot, but it’s more of a the feminine kind of wanting it or thinking about it.” Without missing a beat, Schmidt responded with the utterly charming and forthright response, “I must have been ovulating when I said that! What I probably meant was that I was drawing penises in a simple loving way instead of as a symbol of power or threat.” What’s not to like about that?
Undoubtedly, much of the artist’s work is fueled by a certain sexuality – even when penises aren’t sprouting out of a bed of flowers. Oftentimes it’s the subtle provocation elicited by colors, textures and obscure configurations of shapes that really highlight Schmidt’s ability to tap into something honest and raw.
When not evoking yearning, wonder or desire, Schmidt’s work is likely to elicit a laugh: Visages created with cigarettes and beer bottle caps, labia-filled lettuce leaves and well -- penises growing out of a bed of flowers.
Like her, hate her – whatever you do – don’t put another tired poster of Audrey Hepburn on your wall, pretty pretty please.