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Cape artist to have career retrospective showcased

By Staff | Nov 15, 2011

Long-time Cape Coral resident will have her art on display for more than a month at the Alliance for the Arts next week.

Minimalist abstract painter Alicia Schmidt will have her collection “Alicia Schmidt: 40 Years A Retrospective” on display from Nov. 21 through Dec. 31 with an opening reception on Dec. 2 from 5 p.m. -7:30 p.m.

The Alliance for the Arts is at 10091 McGregor Blvd., which is south of Colonial Boulevard.

The artist originally attended Florida State University for fashion design, a program which included art classes. She said the fashion design was not the environment she wanted so she changed direction.

“I wanted professional school training,” Schmidt said.

She found out that Ringling School of Arts in Sarasota was accepting students into the fashion design program for the last year for first year students, and she was accepted.

The program was three years long, so at the end of the first year students had to decide what area they wanted to major in for their second and third year.

“I decided I wanted to go into fine arts,” Schmidt said, adding she enjoyed more of the classes that pertained to fine arts. “Going into fashion design was the start of it.”

In 1976, Schmidt was provided with the opportunity to go to Albright-Knox Gallery in Buffalo, N.Y. to see a contemporary collection from Clyfford Still.

“It was the first time I had the opportunity to see his work,” she said. “It was very inspiring to see someone who was doing abstract composition.”

Still’s work sparked an interest in Schmidt and she began looking at composition in a different way. The composition was different than having a white border around the art, she said, adding that his work was taken right to the edge of the canvas.

“It really was an epiphany to see this,” she said.

Schmidt started simplifying her artwork, beginning in the summer of 1976. In November of the next year she felt it was finally complete. She said that was her departure to start working in minimal work.

“I enjoy the challenge of taking a recognizable subject and interpreting it into a very minimal expression where it might just be a rectangle with a background,” Schmidt said.

Her collection that will be on display will include works from the beginning of her artistic career from 1971 when she attended Ringling School of Arts until now.

Schmidt said she has selected pieces from various stages, which will include her chair and paper bag series, along with pieces from when she was in school.

She said she is kind of hoping that when people come to the show and see her work for the first time they will develop an understanding of the progression she has had over the years. She said for those who remember her work, she hopes they will experience a nostalgia feeling when they see her earlier pieces.”Like seeing an old friend again,” Schmidt said. “I hope they get that feeling.”

For a glimpse at her artwork visit www.aliciaschmidtgallery.com.