Much of her work focusses on language and communication, with layers of handwriting and text combined with gestural mark making. The viewer is encouraged to look past what is written, and to instead read the spaces of silence in between. Meaning is defined through emptiness, light, structure, composition and the subtleties and translucencies of rice paper.
Through the use of composition and pictorial structure, Schendel starts to communicate something beyond the words themselves. She composes the text like she would a drawing or painting, creating movement and moments of intensity on the surface of the paper. The literal meaning of the words is no more important than the way it is written, the mark on the page, it’s location on the page and the space around it.
Her compositions become almost landscapes that you must move through to pull together your reading of the piece. The viewer is transported across the canvas or paper, through marks and letters and words, led in different directions and through different interpretations. Instead of reading off the page, taking the words at face value, the viewer can read into the page, searching for meanings within it.
Schendel saw her work as examining the notion of void or empty space which is activated by the lines she draws through it. For architects, drawing is our primary means of communication, using lines to describe new spaces. Whilst the majority of this is technical, there is also room for gesture and mark making as a way to convey ideas. There is a lot to be taken from the way Schendel evokes space and energy in two dimensions, not by drawing space itself but somehow drawing into space.
In Schendel’s work each mark becomes a trace of her movement and of the expressive gesture that went into making it. The motion of her hand is captured and the fluidity with which she creates her artworks is displayed. The marks hold within them a sense of potential for movement, and a feeling that they could continue and unfold.
Louise Underhill - 6a Architects
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