Past Exhibitions > Schuyler Workmaster

When lived experience fails to fit into fixed perception, the task of understanding an
unclassifiable world becomes dauntingly expansive. By depicting ambiguous figures in the
context of classical architectural spaces, I explore the dissonance between an absurd
external reality and a seemingly fixed internal reality through painting and drawing. Being
raised in a religious environment informs the way in which I imagine the unconscious,
governed by a firm set of rules and structures whether inherited or built through

The checkerboard floor, or Mosaic Pavement, acts as a formal and conceptual thread
throughout my work. Tightly rendered with ink or acrylic paint, the black and white tile
suggests a binary understanding of the world or a way in which to classify “apparent
unconnected events of our everyday experience.” This floor acts as a base upon which the structures of the interior space are built. Classical architectural features such as grand
staircases or arched doorways work with the black and white tiled floor to create a
recognizable space, hearkening back to Western ideals of beauty. What distinguishes
these spaces though is their frailty, left not wholly rendered or lacking depth. The objects in these spaces are further displaced from the logic of the Mosaic Pavement, taking on more natural forms that refuse to be classified within the classical context of their surroundings. These objects are both incongruent in subject matter and rendered with less exacting precision than their surroundings, leaving a keen sense of separation between the forms and the space they inhabit.

A few artists that have influenced my work include Giorgio de Chirico, David Lynch,
Christina Quarles, and Salvador Dali. I also take inspiration from the visual language of
black and white films, particularly those by Orson Welles. The grand interiors of Citizen
Kane and Magnificent Ambersons are both excessive and austere, acting as a complex
series of spaces in which the tumultuous interior life of its inhabitants are reflected.
-Schuyler Workmaster