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Path to Paradise: panel IV

<em>I make these images in some kind of verbal-free fugue state. . . . I am not sweating over messages, meanings, or interpretations. I am actively trying to go back to an age when I was able to make pictures without all kinds of layers of analysis.</em> —Judith Schaechter <strong>IV. Twenty-First-Century Toolbox 2000–2002</strong> Schaechter has thrust stained glass—a centuries-old medium associated with the Christian tradition—into the twenty-first century. She disrupts the didactic and religious intent of medieval stained glass, and proves the medium elusive and psychologically charged. The transgressive nature of her work has been aptly described as a “thrilling and disorienting” experience, like “seeing an old master painting of a car crash.” She is a pioneer in her embrace of digital tools without compromising the handcrafted. In her artistic practice, there is a continual and fluid back and forth between the computer and the artist's own brand of obsessive handwork. In 2000, she began scanning her drawings into the computer for manipulation in Photoshop. She uses this program to scale figures up or down and to develop the surrounding scene and details. Finally, the work migrates back into the real world as she translates her black-and-white computer-generated images into colored glass. The accessibility of a wide range of online images is a resource Schaechter mines daily. Start digging, and one finds endless symbols and references pulled from the web and the history of art as she gleans, culls, collages, and critiques mass-culture imagery and messages.

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