'The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter's Stained-Glass Art' Opens June 27

Eye On Art  |  02/09/2020 9:00 am

The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art, featuring over 40 of Schaechter’s stained-glass panels along with a selection of related drawings and process materials, will be on view June 27 to Oct. 4, 2020, in Toledo Museum of Art’s Levis Gallery. The objects on view are drawn from both private and institutional collections.

“Judith Schaechter has redefined the limits of stained-glass throughout her career with her highly decorative yet provocative approach to the material,” explained Diane Wright, TMA’s interim director of curatorial affairs and senior curator of glass and decorative arts. “By fusing this historic medium with subversive thought and pure dedication to the exploration of the craft, Schaechter has altered the landscape of contemporary American art.”

“Schaechter’s genius is found in her unorthodox notions about the centuries-old tradition of stained glass, most often associated with medieval architecture and stories of Christianity,” said Wright. “She not only adds a new visual repertoire to stained-glass but also applies innovative technologies to long-established methods.”

Schaechter has extraordinary confidence in the ability of stained glass to communicate with and illuminate an audience. The deeply personal narratives in her work tap into what she believes to be a collective consciousness and universal human experience. She trusts in the role of the maker to craft beautiful objects that empower the viewer.

“When we despair,” Schaechter said, “it is beauty that saves us, not reasoning and logical argument. The capacity for beauty in the human brain as it interfaces with nature is a marvelous and life-affirming thing.”

Schaechter also embraces the inherent contradictions of her work, gleefully melding the opposing currents of high and low, beauty and gore, sacred and profane, and transcendence and defeat. Dark narratives feature her favorite subjects: “sex and death, with romance and violence the obvious runners up.”

The Path to Paradise is the first survey and major scholarly assessment of this groundbreaking artist’s 37-year career. Organized by the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, the exhibition will be on view in Rochester, New York, from Feb. 15 through May 24, 2020. After Toledo, the show will end its run in Iowa at the Des Moines Art Center.

The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art is sponsored by 2020 Exhibition Program Sponsor ProMedica with additional support from the Ohio Arts Council. Admission to the exhibition is free.