The Path to Paradise: Judith Schaechter’s Stained-Glass Art
Judith Schaechter (b. 1961) has explored and pushed the limits of the stained-glass medium for over three decades with her striking stained-glass panels that fuse the medieval with the boldly contemporary. Her singular, subversive and masterful approach has altered the landscape of contemporary American art. The Path to Paradise will provide an in-depth scholarly assessment of the artist’s critical contributions to the history and intersection of contemporary art, stained glass and craft.
Schaechter’s genius lies in her unorthodox application of the centuries-old craft tradition of stained glass, most often associated with the glowing saints and stories of Christianity. With a sharp wit and unyielding focus, Schaechter redefines the medium by sand-blasting, filing, engraving and painting her unruly modern women onto multiple layers of colorful flash glass. She embraces the inherent contradictions of her work, gleefully melding the opposing currents of high and low, beauty and gore, sacred and profane, and transcendence and defeat. Dark narratives feature her favorite subjects, “sex and death, with romance and violence the obvious runners up.”
The Path to Paradise is the first survey and major scholarly assessment of this groundbreaking artist’s 37-year career. Organized by the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester, the exhibition will be on view in Rochester from Feb. 15 through May 24, 2020. After Toledo, the show will end its run at the Des Moines Art Center. Drawn from both private and institutional collections, The Path to Paradise will feature approximately 45 of Judith Schaechter’s stained-glass panels along with a selection of related drawings and process materials.