Schema Projects

Joan Waltemath

The dinwoodies, 2005 – 8; graphite drawings on mylar

September 20 - October 27


Schema Projects is pleased to present a selection of abstract graphite drawings on mylar by Joan Waltemath, her first show in NY in 12 years. “The dinwoodies” refer to ancient rock drawings, located in Wyoming where the drawings were executed over a 3 year period at the Jentel residency in Sheridan in 2005 and 2008. In this particular case, the rock art works are notable for their densely spaced linear elements and elegant, elongated proportions not unlike forms and formats that prefigure in her work (“Torso/Roots” drawings). These works appear at first glance, to be in line with Minimalism or the reductive works of Modernism; however, their true point of origin, their relationship to the body and Waltemath’s interest in the haptic*, belies this categorization.

In speaking about how her work is made, Waltemath says:

“What we can reach through the apprehension of the softness or the hardness, the pristine-ness or the carefulness is also what sends us somewhere else, through our memories, on that journey that art can take us on. By entering into the haptic world, possibilities open up that just don’t occur with the images we perceive solely though our eyes.” ( from an interview with Mary Jones, BOMBLOG)

“The dinwoodies” are taut and sensual works made with colored pencil and graphite. Graphite, a primary media of Waltemath, is laid down like an impasto, on vertical mylar sheets. An underlying linear grid of squares, bands and rectangles, generated in a CAD drawing program, and governed by harmonic proportions, serves as scaffold for a mapping of slots and shapes that are filled, opened or layered with the material. This creates a highly reflective surface, filled with variety. In our one on one experience with the work, the eye bounces off the slick metallic surface but re-enters to grasp the image and content. The proportions hold us in tension and create a sense of heightened awareness. Through the act of looking, the viewer experiences the enfolding of surface and structure to discover meaning. The way of these masterful works, is human and present.

BIO: Joan Waltemath grew up on the Great Plains. Her abstract paintings reflect the rich cultural roots of the region with its vast open spaces. Using harmonic progressions she works in both traditional and non-traditional media, reflective pigments in oils as well as a range of wet and dry materials in drawing. Shown in New York, Chicago, Portland, Los Angeles, London, Basel, and Cologne, her work is in the collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the National Gallery of Art and the Harvard University Art Museum among others. She has written extensively on art and served as editor-atlarge of the Brooklyn Rail since 2001. She taught at the IS Chanin School of Architecture of the Cooper Union from 1997 to 2010 and Princeton University since 2000. In 2011, she was appointed the Director of MICA’s Hoffberger School of Painting. She was named a Creative Capital grantee in 2012.

•haptic, from the Greek ἅπτικός (haptikos), means pertaining to the sense of touch and comes from the Greek verb ἅπτεσθαι haptesthai, meaning to contact or to touch.


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