Art Exhibition is ‘Amplifying the Between’
Santa Barbara artist Marie Schoeff explores a profound yet unpretentious relationship with nature and spirituality in a new exhibition, “Marie Schoeff: Amplifying the Between” at the Westmont Ridley-Tree Museum of Art from through March 26.
Schoeff’s imagery, rooted in drawing, explores the ethereal, a transcendent space in a spiritual realm. Her strong sense of physical place creates a unique attachment to lines of latitude and longitude where one spends significant time. She studied art on both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts, and has lived and worked in Santa Barbara for nearly four decades.
“Marie relies on attentive study of the actual world,” says Judy L. Larson, R. Anthony Askew professor of art history and museum director. “Her artistic processes create an amplification of commonplace experiences that transport the viewer between earthly and intangible realms.”
Schoeff, a native of Moscow, Idaho, graduated from Cal State Sacramento and earned a Master of Fine Arts in painting/drawing at Hunter College in New York City. In 1983, she and her husband, Dane Goodman, moved to Santa Barbara, where she taught art at UC Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara City College, and Westmont.
Beginning in the late 1990s, Schoeff’s work shifted from landscapes to iconic female forms using sensual color, rounded shapes, and flowerlike bodies. Drawing the female body was also a very personal response to raising her young daughter.
Another major influence at this time was Schoeff’s immersion into the writings of Carl Jung and his theories on archetypes, dreams, symbolism, and the collective unconscious. “I respond particularly to Jung’s premise that humans are innately image-makers,” she says. “My studies of Jung’s work encouraged me to pursue my own pictorial language, with faith in its ability to connect to others on a more primal level. I see my lines and forms as stand-ins for the female body and references to universal experience. Female forms in my work echo my reflections on being a woman, a mother, and a daughter. Drawing for me is a meditative process, an amplification of the between, the linking of the ordinary with the spiritual. I suppose my work traces my life experience.”
In the early 2000s, Schoeff experimented with printmaking, resulting in a group of large-scale monotype and drypoint prints.
“Amplifying the Between” features a selection of her recent multi-sheet prints and other works that were begun in 2014 and completed during one of seven summer residencies that Schoeff organized with fellow artists, Linda Ekstrom and Linda Foster.
“Marie’s imagery reveals beauty – humble truths that make us, the viewers, feel encouraged or gratified,” Larson says.
The museum is open weekdays from 10 am to 4 pm, and Saturdays from 11 am to 5 pm. Admission is free. For more information, please call the museum at (805) 565-6162 or visit westmont.edu/museum. Guests will be required to wear face masks while inside the museum. If you are experiencing any of COVID-19 symptoms, please do not visit the museum.
Scott Craig is manager of media relations at Westmont College.