John Schuerman is a self-taught artist and independent curator. His deep interests in nature and human nature are visible in both his artwork and his curatorial work, which has involved group exhibitions focused on sociological themes. His aesthetic style and social consciousness formed as he grew up on a dairy farm in southern Wisconsin, coming of age during the cultural revolution of the late 60s and early 70s. www.schuermanfineart.com
The Shouter, epoxy and oils, 13x16
Tell me about your work? What are you currently working on? How is this different from past projects?
I am actively producing thematic group art exhibitions and my own artwork. My curatorial work is aimed at socially relevant topics where contemporary artists can further the dialogue and understanding. In January 2012, Lace and Gunpowder, the Male/Female show will be hosted by the BloomingtonCenter for the Arts. This exhibition then moves to St. Catherine’s university for another showing, but with all new artwork. The show gives people a chance to explore the differences in male and female perspectives via art –to whatever degree they exist or are masked. In June I’m curator for The Money Show at the BanfillLockeCenter for the Arts. Anyone that ever thinks about money should go see it! I have more curatorial work on the horizon as well.
My current artwork continues to be about nature –natural forces, patterns etc. but from my human, conceptual perspective. Human ideas and constructs meet up with the universal power of nature in my drawings, paintings and collages.
Marilyn’s last vision, epoxy and oils, 17x19
"What is Art?" is certainly too big of a question to ask here, but what do you hope your audience takes away from your art? What statement do you hope to make?
I suppose I am trying to ‘say’ something, but it feels more like reckoning. What does it mean to be human in this vast universe? Where do our ideas fit in the natural world?
There is a prevailing belief that human expressions preside over the natural order. While much of contemporary art exalts that which is uniquely human, I have no interest to separate myself, nor my art, from nature. My current subjects are the powers of nature and human consciousness. Sometimes I feel safer with the forces of nature (as raw and destructive as they can be) than I do with those of human endeavor, but it is the tension between the two that I find compelling and which I try to explore in my art work.
What was the best advice given to you as an artist?
I can’t think of anything big. The best ‘advice’ for me has come in the form of support –a simple love or enjoyment of the work. If you want to help an artist, love their work.
Soul’s Divide, epoxy and oils, 32x40
Tell me about your work space and your creative process.
My work space is very rough and chaotic –an old horse barn in south Minneapolis converted to a workshop maybe 75 years ago. It became an artist studio in 1998 when we bought the property and restored it, with heat for year-round working.
My creative process is pretty disciplined. I work almost every day of the year. I get up between 5:00 and 6:00 am most every day and head out there for 2 – 3 hours before getting into other work. If I can, I steal a bit more time later in the day. I also walk around and study nature whenever I can and look for clues or patterns that I might work with. I also think about things that are distinctly human –then I mix the two together, and that is where my art ideas come from.