Body Land Anne Scheid Arte Americas

A 25 Year Retrospective of Anne Scheid

The origins of artistic vocations may more often than not come from early and unexpected experiences. These even can precede art making. Anne Scheid’s career was auspiciously signaled by a childhood encounter in nature. As a 7 yer-old she grew to love exploring the woods near her Cincinnati home, finding it a place of mystery, comfort, beauty and danger. On one such visit, she recalls running with abandon up a hill to suddenly discover hundreds of blossoming lilies that had sprung up overnight. It stopped her in her tracks. She instinctively sensed that the woods, the efflorescent slope, and her life were linked in some profound way. This epiphany left her with an abiding joy and gratitude that years later would give her vision, direction, and artistic inspiration.

Since that time, Scheid regularly has sought solace and inspiration in nature. Choosing drawing as her primary medium in her junior year in college, she found a spiritual stimulus in the landscapes along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Eschewing naturalistic rendering of the landscape for an expressionist mode, her drawings from the mid 1970s to the 1980s had an electric and visionary quality, evoking the transcendent in nature.

Scheid embarked upon a new direction in 1987, turning to the human figure, producing a mystically infused group of color pastel renderings while in graduate school at the University of Cincinnati. The artist continued exploring the spiritual dimensions of the human body following her arrival at Fresno City College in 1991 to oversee instruction in drawing.

Within three years of conducting drawing courses, Scheid began to see potential for drawing as a monumental vehicle that could become its own environment, beyond displaying an assortment of framed works. In 1994 she conceived the exhibition A Step in the Dark for the Fresno Art Museum. This project entailed an architecturally designed gallery to be completely defined by large figurative drawings, drawn on the wall and displayed on screens of translucent sheets of paper – a multi-dimensional atmosphere of embodied  spirituality.

Scheid’s further musings on “greater drawing,” the meaning of figure, and a desire to return to the natural world as a source, led to her first major effort to combine the body and landscape in 1998. The exhibition Energy is the Body was produced as landscape murals drawn directly on two walls of a Fresno gallery. Over the murals, the artist installed five large sheets of portrayals of the figure. In addition, Scheid supplemented the installation with dance performances that interacted with the drawn environment, a collaborative component that has appeared in her subsequent exhibitions. When working in large formats, Scheid necessarily must move around her drawings, a dynamic companion of the movement implied in the imagery and on the surface of the paper. In this sense, she sees her drawing is performative, and since has welcomed dancers to collaborate in her work.

Subsequent drawing projects have engaged agricultural landscapes, wilderness settings, spiritual aspects of the human condition – including myth and archetypes, and frequent explorations of embodiment and our relationship to the planet. Sustaining her approach is a disciplined contemplative practice, seeking unity of vision. By her integration of the land with the human form, she reminds us that the earth is the theatre for human action, and the body is a vulnerable and transient presence within the geophysical cycles of the natural world. As a result, Scheid’s work is deeply rooted in the essential character of all things, that is, an artistic quest grounded in Nature and the depths of our human nature.

Gordon L. Fuglie

Body/Land: A 25-Year Retrospective of Anne Scheid is presented at three sites:

Arte Américas
(featuring work from years 1989 – 2000)
March 3 – May 22, 2016

Art Space Gallery, Fresno City College
(featuring work from years 2001– 2005)
February 22 – April 7, 2016

Fresno Art Museum
(featuring work from years 2006 – 2012),
January 22 – May 1, 2016

An International Sisterhood of Women Artists