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Ann Schaumburger: The shape of home

Installation view, Ann Schaumburger, Linoleum Floor House, 2021, Flashe and Polycolor on wood, 18 x 24 inches. Photography: Sebastian Bach.

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Contributed by Jonathan Goodman / Ann Schaumburger is a disciplined and systematic painter. She uses basic geometric motifs (triangle, rectangle, and square) to develop permutations of a core set of four brilliant colors that elaborate the intuitive resonance of a single structure: the gabled roof house. Works recently on view at A.I.R. Gallery draw on miners’ stone houses in Cornwall, England, and prefabricated metal sheds in Amherst, Virginia. The idea of a home, however schematic, evokes real-world associations, establishing a rich and subtle balance between form and content.

Ann Schaumburger, Orange House, 2020, Flashe on wood, 18 x 24 inches. Photography: Jeanette May.
Ann Schaumburger, Summer Earth House, 2021, Flashe and Polycolor on wood, 18 x 24 inches. Photography: Jeanette May.

In a given painting, a triangular panel signifies the roof of the structure, which is further delineated by hues and shapes that differ from the purely abstract ones that compose the rest of the piece. Thus, the home is at once camouflaged and illuminated. A good example is Orange House (2020), in which a structure made mainly of orange squares takes up most of the painted space. Summer Earth House (2021), composed of green, red, and orange squares, is a bit more nuanced. Schaumburger’ signature combination of regularity and gentle disruption imparts an obliquely comforting human touch. This is firmly within the tradition of geometric abstraction. By the same token, though, she indulges no overt sentimentality: the paintings remain essentially formalist approximations of space, enlivened by slight eccentricities.

While abstract work can incorporate emotion – witness Abstract Expressionism – it’s not easy to make it feel genuinely warm. Schaumburger focuses on the moment of recognition that occurs for the viewer when something objectively recognizable and reassuring materializes on an ostensibly abstract grid. It is a quiet, iterative, and not unfamiliar accomplishment, but it is also a satisfying one, here executed with skill, rigor, and a delicate sufficiency of heart.

“Ann Schaumburger: New Work,” A.I.R. Gallery, 155 Plymouth Street, Brooklyn, NY. October 15 – November 14, 2021. Schaumburger’s work is also included in “23°47′, 2°27′, 2°51,” a group show on view at A.I.R. through December 19, 2021.

About the author: Jonathan Goodman is an art writer and poet. He currently teaches at Pratt Institute.

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NOTE: If you enjoy Two Coats of Paint‘s independent art coverage, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the 2021 Two Coats of Paint Year-End Fundraising Campaign. Thanks. Click here.

3 Comments

  1. great piece on ann’s work

  2. Love this work.

  3. Nailed it! Thank you Ann and Jonathan.

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