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Bastienne Schmidt

September 4 - November 7, 2010
Artist's Talk, Book Signing, and Reception: October 30, 5:00-7:30pm

Bastienne Schmidt
The Red Dress, Sagaponack, 2009

"With subtle directorial control of the mood, mise-en-scene, lighting and art direction for each image, Schmidt creates ambiguous and quietly moving meditations on the theme of self, identity and 'home.'"


This exhibition and book project uses photographs, large scale mixed-media pieces and film still images to explore female gender identity as it is refracted through popular culture. Schmidt challenges our visions of a domestic utopia with “tableaux” photographs of herself in the role of a “housewife” that re-stage many disconcertingly familiar scenarios and circumstances. Working strictly in her own home environment of suburban Long Island, Schmidt takes on the social context of a world of suburban fragmentation and loneliness with the presentation of the housewife character as a wandering, rootless protagonist.

Bastienne Schmidt
House Dress, 2005
  With subtle directorial control of the mood, mise-en-scene, lighting and art direction for each image, Schmidt creates ambiguous and quietly moving meditations on the theme of self, identity and “home.” Drawing from such diverse visual influences as the French “nouvelle vague,” or New Wave cinema, the paintings of Hokusai , Sigmar Polke, Vermeer and Hopper and commercial illustration from the 1950’s; Schmidt draws the viewer into a complex evocation of ambivalence and emptiness. This layering of imagery and mood is especially prevalent in the large, mixed-media pieces of appropriated cultural imagery, drawn elements and photographs. The Film Stills section reproduces symbolically-charged and emotionally resonant domestic scenes captured and excerpted from the constant daily flow of such imagery from our television screens. The women in the screen images are refracted through semi-transparent overlays of drawn gestures, patterns, doilies, fabrics and embroideries. The multitude of ever-shifting perspectives and narratives in the stills underscores the dichotomy of the home as the scene of domestic bliss.


Bastienne Schmidt was born in Munich, Germany and studied art, painting and photography in Germany and Italy after studying Anthropology at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitaet. She lived and worked for many years in Greece and Italy before moving to New York, where she is now based. Schmidt’s art and photography have been widely published and exhibited throughout the US and internationally including at the National Museum for Photography, TV and Broadcasting in Bradford; the Brooklyn Museum; International Center of Photography; Houston FotoFest; Musée de la Photographie à Charleroi, Belgium; Museum of Photography, Rotterdam; Academy of Fine Arts, Krakow; and the New Museum, New York.

Schmidt’s publications include Vivir la Muerte (1996), American Dreams (1997) and Shadow Home (2005), which was awarded the German Best Photo Book Prize. She is represented in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Corcoran Gallery of Art; Center for Creative Photography, Tucson; Worcester Art Museum; Museum für Kunst und Gewerbe, Hamburg; Norton Museum of Art; Museet Fotografiska, Stockholm; International Center of Photography, The Brooklyn Museum, The Victoria and Albert Museum and the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris.

Two articles on Schmidt's work include "Bridgehampton Artist Explores The Life Of The Suburban Woman In Her New Book," Bridgehampton News, Dec 2010, and "Pictures From Home," The Sag Harbor Express, November 2010.

PDN Photo of the Day - Bastienne Schmidt/Home Stills

Bastienne Schmidt Bastienne Schmidt
Bastienne Schmidt
Vacuum Cleaner, Bridgehampton, 2006 Morning Breeze, 2004
Driving Car, Film Still, 2007
Installation Images:

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Exhibitions and programs at the Southeast Museum of Photography are supported in part by Daytona State College, Volusia ECHO and the State of Florida, Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs and the Florida Council on the Arts.

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