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Due to the current political and social hostilities that surround us everyday I felt compelled to create a piece that was inclusive and stressed the importance of positive social agreements. In “America’s Social Contract” I depict diverse races of people pulling each other up, (very much opposed to individuals pushing each other down.) These watercolor paintings are laser cut, transforming them into objects that are literally made out of the words from the constitution.
Both sides of the work are painted, making it necessary for the piece to be hung in a manner that allows the viewer to walk around the full piece. As light hits the surface of the paintings a cast shadow of the words of the constitution falls on the viewer, making them one with the constitution. By using two strongly contrasting techniques, (hand and machine made), the physical work reinforces the conceptual idea that sensory/emotive understanding is entangled with analytical logic. Whether the viewer chooses to focus on the “rationality” in the words or the “sensory” in the bodies, each remains equally significant within the actual work.
- Diana Schmertz is an artist and educator. She has received grants and awards from organizations such as the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, the Aljira Emerge Fellowship program, and the Drawing Center and has participated in residencies in Russia, Europe and the U.S. Her work has been shown at Garis & Hahn and Columbia University in New York City, the International Museum of Women, San Francisco and Galería Nacional, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. In addition, Schmertz has made public art supported by grants. Currently, she is in a two-person exhibition, Soma, at Muriel Guépin Gallery LES, NYC and in a group show at Center for Book Arts, Chelsea NYC. Website: http://www.dianaschmertz.com/