2019 Acquisition: Judith Schaechter
Judith Schaechter is renowned for her brilliantly colored stained glass pieces, each created through painstaking multi-layered process of engraving, sandblasting, painting and firing. Schaechter’s imagery is always narrative, but ambiguous, as the artist asks us to bring our own perspective to her stories. Stained glass has a long history in western art, but the best known are the Gothic cathedrals where the light was associated with divinity. Schaechter embraces this history and often throws her figures into somewhat situations that are reminiscent of Biblical tales. In this manner she is able to simultaneously attract viewers with the exquisite splendor of the glass, while capturing their imaginations with the tale that is unfolding.
Efflorescence features a figure laying on a blue ground as flowers shower down upon her. She seems almost overwhelmed by the large spray coming towards her. Although the bird in the corner looks very much like one from a Disney cartoon, the imagery seems to be an Annunciation scene straight out of the Renaissance as Mary is visited by the Holy Spirit. However, we can also interpret this piece as life metaphorically inundating us.
Judith Schaechter has lived and worked in Philadelphia since graduating in 1983 with a BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design Glass Program. She has exhibited widely, and has been the recipient of many grants, including the Guggenheim Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in Crafts, The Louis Comfort Tiffany Award, The Joan Mitchell Award, two Pennsylvania Council on the Arts awards, The Pew Fellowship in the Arts and a Leeway Foundation grant.
Her work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Hermitage in Russia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Corning Museum of Glass, The Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian Institution and numerous other public and private collections.
“The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art,” the first survey of the artist’s work, will be traveling the country in 2020 and 2021, and will include 45 stained glass pieces, sketchbooks and drawings. Another solo exhibition, “Agony and Ecstasy: Contemporary Stained Glass by Judith Schaechter,” will be at the Chrysler Museum of Art in Norfolk, VA this fall.