Gustavo Schmidt, Chilean/American
In his Art, Gustavo uses his work as an exploration into aspects of the spiritual self. He is in a visual quest regarding questions on the transcendent being in which intuitively he goes as if through the history of Philosophical movements and specific periods in his own personal creative process. His early works are a reflection upon reality and the search for perfection in formal development, in which he has taken academically the elements of the tradition of painting as they are, simple and clear, with a rigorous observation and application methods, resolving visual aspects and close to the school of realism and naturalism. After achieving a notable high level in realism, with a combination between influences of the Renascent masters and neoclassic "alla prima', creating his particular ground methods and implementations of technique, he continues in a search through magic realism and the use of symbolism. Immersed in alchemical images from the middle ages, he becomes fascinated with the concept close the Illumination period, with a search for a personal imagery and language and the interpretation of different aspects in metaphysics. His works are not in the look for synthesis nor channeling as in the later art of Hilma af Klint (1862-1944) but not dissimilar in the spiritual practice of meditation, Gustavo research the works of Jung, Campbell, in which Gustavo’s exploration takes him through Tibetan Mandalas, allegorical concepts and Sacred Geometry. He uses chosen elements in his work through yuxtaposing them in ways to create an inner dialogue between forms, excuse he even uses with the work Sybil of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel. In this way, his conceptual use of figurative analogies as displayed in altars, a sacred staging of his images, leads the viewer to open a door into other dimensions in which consciousness enters a dream state in which all realities are possible and all times are present realities.
In later works, Gustavo ruptures with form and traditional composition breaking away from the academy, yet entering himself in a deeper aspect of his perceptual self and its inner reflections. He has changed his materials from oil into industrial materials and acrylics, mixing his own pigments and creating his own tools allowing him to express texture and rhythm. His color is now of modern context; the saturated primal blends and the giving intensity of blues, reds, and the interaction of a richer palette, create works that show movement and gesture, stating transitory spaces in time where the mind is no longer used as in a scientific research of empirical tendencies but rather being interested in a sense of awareness and the moments of creation themselves. His search has transformed into the acceptance of time and the body, his impastos and textured canvases denote the transitory stages of human life, its decay and glory, in admiration of nature and a vital humbleness of presence, uncompromised and free.
Gustavo started his Art studies at the Museo de Bellas Artes in Santiago, Chile, at 11 years old. He studied with Artist and Educator Margot Guerra Vial and having visiting lectures at artist Miguel Venegas Cifuentes Studio, teacher of renown Chilean painter Claudio Bravo. Gustavo did his first solo show when he was 14 years old at his high school Craighouse entering to Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile at School of Arts and School of Music at the same time, having parallel studies at both careers of Arts and Music, the later in Piano. He graduated with a Bachelor from Fine Arts at the, and received awards while participating in group exhibitions and art competitions in Santiago and other Chilean cities, as well as participating in famous bands as QEP (pop band winner of Festival Internacional de Viña del Mar) and Dekiruza (Band with Afro-Cuban, Jazz and pop influences participating in the “No” tour for electoral voting aperture after 18 years of Dictatorship of Pinochet and the “Junta”, as an icon for representing freedom against oppression). Parallel to his studies in Art School and the performances in various music venues in the last years of college, Gustavo worked as a free lance illustrator for several Advertizing agencies like J.Walter Thompson, Young and Roubicam, McCaan Erickson, Northcote, and becoming Art Director at an advertizing agency. Continued to fully dedicate all his efforts to his art and music, and adding the practice of meditation and advanced technics in the known Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras from the Hindu tradition. After completing several Art exhibitions, several music performances in the main stages, TV Channels and radio appearances, and having walked through spiritual trainings, Gustavo moved to live in New York City in 1990.
In NYC he assisted artists Jorge Tacla, Artist-Professor Shalom Newman, artist Harry McCormick, Photographer and Teacher Lester Lefkowitz at International Center of Photography, and at the Juan Downey archives. Gustavo was granted the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award in 1999. He has been a teacher since 1982 giving seminars in Art, Latin American Art and artists history, Painting, Etching, Drawing and Composition. Gustavo has had solo exhibitions twice at The Chilean Consulate, New York, NY.; had also a solo show at Embassy of Chile, Washington DC. USA.; and had shows at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Plaza Mulato Gil de Castro, Santiago, Chile.; Instituto Cultural de Providencia, Santiago, Chile.; Universidad Católica de Talca, Talca, Chile.; Instituto Cultural de Las Condes, Santiago, Chile.; Embassy of Israel, Santiago, Chile. Praxis Gallery, Santiago, Chile. Latin American Painters Association, Buenos Aires, Argentina. Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, Chiloé, Chile. International Monetary Fund, Washington DC. Organization of American States, Washington DC.; The Artist Museum, Washington DC. Ibero-American Conference, Washington DC. ABC NO RIO Gallery, New York, NY. Fusion Arts Gallery, New York, NY. Ibero-American Cultural Attachés, 9th Art Salon, Mexican Cultural Institute, Washington DC. Fusion Arts Museum, New York, NY. Elmurst’s Hospital, New York City Hospital Collection Exhibit,, NY. TASD Gallery, Latin American Artists, Inaugural Show, Miami, Florida. Simon Patrich Gallery, Young Artists, Vancouver, Canada. Klaudia Marr Gallery, 14 th Annual Realism Invitational, Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA. The National Museum of Catholic Art and History, New York City, USA. Historical Society, Washington DC, USA.
Gustavo's works belong to many art private and public collections like: Consulate of Chile, NYC; Marriot Hotel, Brooklyn, NYC; Pepsy Co, New York, NY. Chilean Mission to the United States, New York, NY; Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Castro, Chiloe, Chile.