Waterhouse and Dodd announces John Schueler: Skyscapes

Waterhouse and Dodd announces John Schueler: Skyscapes

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His First solo exhibition in London for over 40 years

At their Albemarle Street Gallery, London | Exhibition: 18 th June – 12 th July 2019
Gallery opening hours: 9.30am-6pm | Private view: 18 th June 2019, 6-8pm
By the late 1950s, the American painter Jon Schueler (1916-1992) was a leading figure in the New
York School, exhibiting large scale expressionist works in two major solo shows, one at the
auspicious Stable Gallery (1954) and perhaps most significantly at the Leo Castelli Gallery (1957). At
the height of his fame however Schueler chose to turn his attention away from the New York art
scene and move to Mallaig, a remote fishing village in the Scottish Highlands. It was here that he
became entranced by the menacing skyscapes experienced between the Isle of Skye and mainland
Scotland, and to which he brought the scale, gravity and gesture of Abstract Expressionism.
When Jack Baur, the then director of the New York Whitney Museum, introduced Schueler’s 1975
solo show, he compared his work to older contemporaries Mark Rothko and Clyfford Still stating
that: “Schueler’s solution is more difficult because it is less obvious, he risks more by deliberately
exploring a narrow area where nothing is secure, where everything is changing, evanescent, and
evocative. We see his paintings one minute as clouds and sea and islands, the next as swirling
arrangements of pure colour and light.” By the 1970s the artist had become increasingly concerned
with the sky as being the only appropriate visual metaphor for exploring emotion and meaning in his
paintings.
Schueler’s infatuation with the sky sprang from childhood memories of the expansive horizons of
Wisconsin where he was born and Lake Michigan, but was later cemented by the terrifying inferno
of the skies in WWII during which he served as a navigator in a B-17 bomber for the United States
Army. Flying on bombing missions, he found a beauty in the skies equal to their horror: “There in
combat and before, the sky held all things, life and death and fear and joy and love. It held the
incredible beauty of nature.”
Deeply troubled by what he had seen on active service, he was discharged with undiagnosed PTSD in
1944. Schueler, a recipient of the G.I. Bill, turned to painting at the California School of Fine Arts in
1948 under the tutelage of Clyfford Still and Richard Diebenkorn. Encouraged by Still to move to
New York in 1951, Schueler quickly became immersed in the world of the Abstract Expressionists,
exhibiting and socialising with artists such as Norman Bluhm, Helen Frankenthaler, Philip Guston,
Franz Kline, Barnett Newman and Ad Reinhardt.
From the 1970s, Schueler – increasingly disillusioned by the commercial emphasis of the New York
scene – shifted his focus to Scotland. It was during this time he found a way to balance the
contraries running through his skyscapes, allowing them to move effortlessly pivoting between
nature and abstraction, reality and memory, the past, present and future. With his artistic vision fully
formed, he would, for the rest of his lifetime work in both his Manhattan loft and his studio in
Mallaig, Inverness-shire until he passed away in 1992.

Jamie Anderson at Waterhouse & Dodd writes: “It seems remarkable that an artist of Schueler’s calibre and standing should not have held an exhibition in London since 1978, and as such we are very proud to be the gallery to correct that. The Estate has provided us with uninhibited access to his paintings and allowed us free reign to curate what we feel is a first rate account of his ‘skyscapes’. We hope it will be the first of a series of exhibitions dedicated to Schueler’s remarkable work.” ‘Jon Schueler: Skyscapes’ will show a selection of works from his early years in New York, and later skyscapes carried out in New York and his Scottish studio, Romasaig. All paintings come direct from the artist’s Estate, as represented by the gallery. We are grateful to Diana Ewer Art Advisory, the Jon Schueler Estate UK representative, for collaborating with the gallery on Jon Schueler’s first London solo exhibition with Waterhouse & Dodd.

Schueler- Night Sea Burning, 1974

Schueler- Storm, 1962

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