Wendi Schneider

Wendi Schneider is a Denver-based visual artist widely known for her luminous gold leafed photographs. Born in Memphis, TN in 1955, her work is influenced by a background in painting and art history, her collection of turn-of-the-twentieth-century photographs, and the lush landscapes of Memphis, New Orleans and New York. She turned to photography in the early 1980s to create references of models for her paintings. Mesmerized by the possibilities of the photographic art form and the alchemy of the darkroom, yet missing the sensuousness of oils, Schneider began to layer oils on her photographs to manipulate the boundaries between the real and the imagined. This process laid the groundwork for the unique layering and gilding that would later become the foundation of the ongoing ‘States of Grace’ series.

In 1988, after recreating The Picayune’s Creole Cook Book for The Times-Picayune newspaper’s sesquicentennial, Schneider moved from New Orleans to New York and began a diverse career that included fine art commissions, photography for magazines, book covers, and advertising, and later (after a move to Denver in 1994) a return to design and art direction. In 2012, she began to produce a collection of photographs featuring flora and fauna – ‘States of Grace’ – which was to become her signature body of work.

Schneider’s photographs are held in the permanent collections of The New Orleans Museum of Art, The Center for Creative Photography, The Memphis Brooks Museum, The Auburn University Library Special Collections, the Try-Me Collection, among others, as well as numerous private collections. Her work has been exhibited and published extensively worldwide. She is represented by A Gallery For Fine Photography, New Orleans; Arnika Dawkins Gallery, Atlanta; Catherine Couturier Gallery, Houston; Etherton Gallery, Tucson; Galeria Photographic, San Miguel de Allende; Rick Wester Fine Art, New York; and Vision Gallery, Jerusalem.

Artist’s Statement

My work is rooted in the serenity I find in the sinuous elegance of organic forms. It’s a celebration of the senses anchored in the visual — an exploration of my spiritual connection to our vulnerable natural world and the transcendence I find in its beauty. In those magical moments when my eyes and essence are engaged, I photograph what I feel, as much as see. The images are layered digitally with color and texture to manipulate the boundaries between the real and imagined, inspired by my background in painting, art history and collecting turn-of-the-twentieth century art and objects.

I follow intuitively where each image takes me, honoring the variations within the edition to elevate the ephemeral. Printed on translucent vellum or kozo, these ethereal illusions are gilded with precious metals – white gold, moon gold, palladium, silver, or 24k gold leaf on the verso, creating a luminosity that varies as the ambient light transitions. My process infuses the artist’s hand and suffuses the treasured subjects with the implied spirituality of the precious metals – echoing the moment of capture and ensuring each illuminated impression is a unique object of reverence. My work is testament and tribute, adoration and obligation.