“I am fascinated by the history of ceramics as a representation of the handmade and how the use of digital methods might challenge this preconception.” With this elegantly simple statement, Charlotte artist Thomas Schmidt summarizes his creative project.
His work both pays homage to traditional methodologies and iconographies and subverts them by introducing technical approaches that distance making from the work of the hand. Using methods such as mold-making, scanning, and photography, he captures what he calls “material moments” which he then prints, casts, layers, and distorts. The result are objects that carry and obscure the strata of decisions and manipulations that created them, the hidden stories of their production. He sees the tension in his work between the handmade and computer-aided design as part of a larger societal negotiation of boundaries in a world where the dividing lines of the virtual and the real are increasingly blurred.
Schmidt has exhibited at numerous venues in the United States, Europe, and Asia with works in such public collections as Museo Internazionale della Ceramiche in Faenza, Italy; the Daum Museum of Contemporary Art in Sedalia, MO; and the Alfred Ceramic Art Museum in Alfred, NY. A studio assistant of renowned ceramic sculptor Ruth Duckworth for three years, he received an M.F.A. from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred. He is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Art and Art History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a 2016-2017 N.C. Arts Council Fellowship recipient.