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Friday, December 5, 2014

One Family: Three Incredible Artists of the 21st Century

Top Left ©Molly Schiff, Top Right ©Lesley Schiff, Bottom Center ©Darryll Schiff, All Rights Reserved

It isn’t uncommon for a family to share a talent, or even an athletic ability, maybe your uncle is musically inclined and so are you, or your mother wrote beautiful poetry in college and your sister developed a romantic way with words by the time she was a freshman in high school.  Sure, certain talents do run in the family, but the caliber in which the Schiff family possesses raw artistic talent is overwhelming.  Molly Schiff, Darryll’s mother, Lesley his sister and Darryll himself each share the mindset of an artist and have flourished into three of the most progressive artists of the 21st century due to their instinct, training and dedication to their practice.  In fact, all three members of this family are present in the leading museums and art institutions. 

        @Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved

       Knowledge and experience is often what guides an artist in creating their most significant works of art.  This is true of talented painter, Molly Schiff.  Molly creates visual narratives as she draws from experiences in the tangible world.  Happening upon Molly’s portfolio of work one will respond to a variety of drastically different paintings, from content to style, even her pallet changes from warm to cooler tones depending on where she draws her inspiration from.  This is not at all surprisingly considering Molly has traveled to over 90 countries around the world and it is reflected in her art.  In fact, Molly has 18 textile based art pieces that each draw inspiration from Chimu and Ancient Paracas textile and ceremonial garments.  The viewer may not have experience with these cultural traditions, but they can feel the reverence through the sensation in Molly’s carefully crafted portrayals of these important colorful cloths. 
@Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved

        The work Molly creates is always an artist’s carefully reflected reaction to the world that surrounds her.  Some of Molly’s larger works are based on sketches she made over time during performances by The Chicago Hubbard Street Dancers. These studies helped her capture the dancer’s action through instinctive mark making, the final project evokes this spontaneous reaction while framed within a well-thought out composition and perfected use of color that suggests movement and vitality.   Other works by Molly are independent of a series, yet the exploration of various motifs exists throughout her body of work. 
        Molly is a master of all her subjects, whether they’re landscapes, interiors, still lives or figures at rest or in motion.  There is a way she handles her created environment perfectly which expresses a feeling for her viewers to pick up on.  There is a serene quality to many of her works, as they use cool colors and space that reflects a quiet, still mood.  The pieces that are loud are made so intentionally through active imagery and bold, high color contrasts. 
@Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved

          Molly’s Selected one person and group exhibitions include Art Heritage Gallery, New Delhi India, Art Institute of Chicago, Arts Club of Chicago, Cultural Center Chicago, Florence Italy Bienalle 2003, Freeport Art Museum, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois State Arts Museum, Spertus Museum, Stanislaus State College, USA State Department Arts in the Embassies; University of South Carolina, Union League Club Chicago, University Club Chicago, LUMA (Loyola Museum of Fine Arts).

@Molly Schiff All Rights Reserved

        Connect the dots, don’t be afraid to draw the connections between artists Darryll Schiff, Lesley Schiff and their mother Molly Schiff.   These are each educated highly talented and successful artists of the 21st Century.  While Molly is a traditional painter, Darryll and Lesley, also have their roots in traditional art education that lead them to adapt these properties through new technology.  In fact, Lesley and Darryll are pioneers of their new mediums.  These are fine artists using contemporary tools to make their art pieces.  Using the properties of painting, color contrast, shape and shading – the mark of a trained painter, is ever-present in their digital mediums. 

©Lesley Schiff All Rights Reserved

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

        For Lesley, the compositions she creates often read as a painting.  Consider “Ghost Man”, the mark making and gesture achieved looks as if it is done through an additive process by brush and pigment.  The work appears to be a paint wash.  Similarly with her “Shadow of Light” it appears as though she uses a gestural process, having a modern day Franz Klein affect.  The process reflects the style of a modernist painting.  Lesley was one of the first to use digital copies making everything from collages to manipulating the internal mechanism of the machine to achieve her desired affect. 
"Ghost Man" ©Lesley Schiff All Rights Reserved

        Some of Lesley’s achievements include her presence in noteworthy collections such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Buckingham Palace in London, Whitney Museum of Art in New York, New York Public Library, Chase Manhattan Bank Collection in New York, Goldman Sachs in New York, Massachusetts College of Art, Prestige Art Limited in New York, Canon USA, J.P. Morgan in New York, David & Alfred Smart Museum in Chicago, Sony Music-Columbia Records, and Epic Records among others. 
"Shadow of Light" ©Lesley Schiff All Rights Reserved

©Darryll Schiff All Rights Reserved

        Darryll approaches the camera in a similar manner, using it as a tool to paint with, bend and use abstractly rather than as a form of documentation.  More can be said about Darryll, his artistic process and great success as a fine art photographer, if you are unfamiliar with Darryll as an artist I encourage you to read the previous two blog posts that take an in-depth look at his interests and motives as an artist.  ‪‪‪Darryll’s photography is part of the collections in renowned museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, George Eastman House, Norton Simon Museum Pasadena and Museum of Contemporary Photography and many private collections from coast-to-coast. 
        This doesn’t cover all of the artists in the Schiff family, there are more still, including both of Darryll’s children.  More to come on the unparalleled talent that runs in one prolific family! 

 - Lauren Ike