An Interview with Maria Schoof


There’s a reason we have chosen Maria Schoof’s “Schmolli” as today’s Artwork of the Day.

Maria’s art show opens today, Thursday 5 June 2008, 7:00 PM at Galerie SKAM,
1 Reeperbahn, Hamburg (6 – 8 June 2008, 4:00-8:00PM). To mark the occasion, Maria’s answered a few questions for Artdoxa…

“Let go. Don’t judge.”

Q: Maria – I’m especially interested in your pictorial inventions. How do you work on your imagery?

A: It varies. Sometimes there’s a precise picture in my mind. Sometimes I see something… certain things I can respond to, things I can translate into my language. It’s a matter of working on it.

Q: Sounds not so much premeditated but more like improvisation. Is that so?

A: It’s a process. I abstract from my design. Some things come as a surprise and might turn into a tangible image.

Q: Sometimes your visualizations exhibit a dreamy, fail-safe elegance, as in “Freiflug” (Free Flight). Sometimes they appear stubborn and restive, as in “Sphinx”. “Sphinx”, as I see it, is kept from disintegrating only by its strong, luminous center. Am I wrong?

A: Painting is always a matter of the instant, of the here and now. Tomorrow I’m in a different mood from today. This is reflected in my work. You can sense the difference.

Q: Members Heather Accurso and Jochen Hein once tagged this quality as ‘undecided’ – in its positive as well as in its critical sense. Would you agree?

A: I wouldn’t say so. Painting always means process and development. Nothing is decided beforehand.

Q: Your paintings strike me as quite emotional and spontaneous. Like “Knubbel3″. And that’s a pretty cuddly title! Where do you find your speaking titles?

A: Those titles come to me at the end of my work. I don’t like to think too much about it. It’s spontaneous.

Q: On the one hand, your work is often quite eccentric, verging on the bizarre, e.g. “Nachbarn” (Neighbors). On the other hand, your images betray a dreamlike, introspective quality, like “Luzer”. They do this in a very direct manner of addressing your audience. Very authentic, but never forced. They convey the image of a woman who’s in touch with her feelings. And thus able to translate these very closely into her private symbolism. Right?

A: I just paint. I can’t explain any further.

Q: Your work seems to circle around certain figures and topics. You seem to be so familiar with your private mythology and your cast of characters – “Blaukopf” (Blue Head), “Sleeper”

A: Sure. Some topics appear again and again. That’s the way it is when you’re an artist. When you’re grappling with the subject of your interest.

Q: What is the subject of your interest?

A: I’m interested in religion. Symbols. Cultural memory. Questions of humanity. Psychology.

Q: Your signs and characters seem to emerge from the depths of some dreamlike, symbolic, preconscious realm. There’s something floating, flowing to your images. Something natural, organic, somatic. I always feel at ease with your pictures. They’re not academic, but analytical in their own special way. Your works have a truth of their own, a mysterious, cryptic truth. Like the highly emotional, visceral thinker – the “Denker”. Well… I feel that maybe you don’t want too much interpretation… ?

A: I am amazed what my work is doing to you. But I don’t want to communicate any “truth”. It just doesn’t occur to me. I paint. Things happen they just want to happen. That’s what creative work is for me: Let go. Don’t judge.

Q: There’s this embryonic figure in “Feuerwerk” (Fireworks). I associate many of your works with motherly qualities, like sheltering and nursing, care and protection. And there’s also the feel of intimacy and vulnerability. As in “Engeloffenbarung” (Angel Epiphany). As in your impressive “Sleeper”.

A: “Sleeper” was a commissioned work for an osteopath’s medical practice. It’s about healing with your hands. Someone is being treated, “behandelt” (literally “handled” in German), being diagnosed by feeling, probing hands. I wanted to emphasize the focussing, the concentration. “Engeloffenbarung” (Angel Epiphany) is part of a cycle dealing with the Apocryphal Book of Tobit.

Q: I find your work amniotic. I don’t know any better word to describe the precious, magic quality in your paintings. The warm and tender radiance. Do you find that odd?

A: I don’t find anything odd. I’m pleased to see how my work is working on you.

Q: Do you have children? And does this have any influence on your work?

A: Yes, I have a son. And I think all of my life has an influence on my work.

Q: I’m just asking because I see so many child-like forms in your work, reflecting child-like emotions. Like the stunning “Schmolli” from “Gruppenbild” (Group Image) and his or her pals… How did those come into being?

A: I just wanted to try out something. To try and go three-dimensional.

Q: The result is just irresistible… “Schmolli” is one of my all-time favourites. And here’s a little room left to list some of your favourites. Who do you admire?

A: Richard Diebenkorn. David Hockney. Philip Taaffe. Frida Kahlo. Neo Rauch. Peter Doig. Matisse. Hieronymus Bosch. Jeff Soto. Jen-Michel Basquiat. Os Gemeos. Paul Gauguin… und und und…

Q: Frau Schoof – thank you for this interview!

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From the Editor: Enhance your chance…
… the chance of your artwork to be chosen as Artwork of the Day!

It’s just a question of uploading.

You have to upload a large hi-rez version of your work in order to increase the chance of your piece to be shown on our homepage.

Because BIG pictures is what we want to show there.

You see? BIG is what we want! BIG is beautiful!

Every so often we come across the perfect image among our new uploads.

But then – it’s barely 5×5cm in size! A puny little stamp of a picture…! Pathetic!

An image that small doesn’t have much impact, no matter how good it might be.

But we want everybody to go WOW at the sight of our Artwork of the Day!

So please…!

Think BIG!

Size does matter!

Danke! Thank you! Merci! Mycket tack! Mille grazie! Bedankt! Gracias! Spassibo!

Xièxie! Obregado! Mange tak! Arigato gozaimasu! etc…

Peace & Love,

3 thoughts on “An Interview with Maria Schoof

  1. Thank you Peter,
    for finding me “Schmolli”
    and interesting: your questions mostly say more than the Marias answers … but the interview points out the essentials, I think. And that is what I want to read.

    All the best for Marias show!
    I´ll have a look … it is happening in Hamburg … yippi

  2. Yo, wir sehen uns!

    Jochen – you’re right.
    My questions are interpretations.
    So be it.
    Let me do the talking.
    You artists provide the artwork.
    I’ll make with the talk and the comments and the questions.
    “Male, KünstlerIn – rede nicht!”

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