UM Museum to Host Peri Schwartz Exhibition

Renowned abstract artist to attend Oct. 27 reception

One of Schwartz's still motion pieces captured in her studio to be exhibited at the University Museum.

One of Schwartz’s still motion pieces captured in her studio to be exhibited at the University Museum.

OXFORD, Miss. – The University of Mississippi Museum continues its trend of modern exhibits with “Paintings – Drawings – Prints,” from renowned abstract painter Peri Schwartz.

The exhibit will be showcased at the museum through Jan. 3, 2016. The artist will attend an open reception Oct. 27 at the museum as part of the Oxford Arts Crawl.

The subjects of Schwartz’s pieces, including bottles, jars, tables and chairs, as well as her self-portraits, focus and envelop the composition and interplay of color, light and space. She does not consider herself to be an abstract or figurative artist, but rather searches for abstraction directly from objects in real, everyday life.

Schwartz grew up in the Far Rockaway neighborhood, part of the New York borough of Queens. From an early age, she aspired to be an artist. She began drawing with pen and ink in her formative childhood years and moved to oil painting at a very young age. Art became a self-identifier and her passion was fueled with the help of a woman who owned an art gallery in her home town.

“When I was young, I kept telling people that I wanted to be an artist,” Schwartz said. “I remember going with my mother to a local art gallery to frame some of my work. I was impressed by the work they were exhibiting and selling, prints by Picasso, Braque and Miro. The owner liked my work and encouraged me. That was the first time someone outside of my family acknowledged my work.”

Schwartz earned a bachelor’s degree in fine arts from Boston University in 1973, and then a master’s from Queens College in 1975. After completing her studies, Schwartz began perfecting her craft, trying to find her unique brush stroke. This began an illustrious career that has spanned three decades and seen Schwartz create and house exhibits all over the country and in Europe.

Through the years, Schwartz has worked in a broad range of media. The pieces featured at the University Museum gallery include etchings, monotypes, drawings, oil paintings and watercolors. Schwartz said she is happy with this show, specifically, because it includes examples of all the mediums she has used throughout her career.

“For me this show is special,” Schwartz said. “This exhibit emphasizes how important it has been for me to work in different mediums. In this venue, I will get to show self-portraits and pieces I created 30 years ago. I get to show my work and progression as an artist over that time period, which is unusual for me.”

As with many of the museum’s exhibits, Schwartz’s work is of particular academic and educational interest. Marti Funke, the museum’s collections manager, spoke of the process of her work and how it applies art history theory.

“Her work hits on every single theory in art history,” Funke said. “Her being academically trained, the work can address every glossary of terms that are used in any of those art classes. Obviously, there’s an educational benefit to seeing lines, form and color.

“The fact that she does use a lot of great work with perspective and line, it offers interesting material for a lot of people. Hopefully a lot of classes will see interest in it, and students who just enjoy something new. There’s a lot left to the imagination that I find very exciting and interesting.”

Schwartz said she is excited to see the 13 pieces that will be displayed together at the museum. The gallery puts the pieces in a different perspective, she said.

“I’m excited to see the work put together,” Schwartz said. “I’m looking forward to seeing what the art students at Ole Miss are doing and excited to see my work exhibited at the University Museum. The earliest etching in the show was done in 1983, and the most recent studio painting just this year. I work in the studio and things look familiar. When they hang in a museum, they are removed from me and out in the world.”

The University Museum, at the corner of University Avenue and Fifth Street, is open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesdays-Saturdays. Admission is free. For more information, visit the museum online or call 662-915-7073.