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Finding the Melancholy Past
Diana Schoenfeld

December 1, 2022 – March 31, 2023

For our last show of the year the gallery is pleased to showcase the photography of California artist Diana Schoenfeld. Finding the Melancholy Past will combine works from several of her
photographic projects, unique collage-like still life arrangements revolving around the female figure begun in the early 1970s and later compositions composed of fragile natural specimens will be shown along with selections from her ongoing study of America’s often abandoned one room schoolhouses, “Schoolhouse Odyssey”. This series features black & white images of ‘ghost schools’ from across the United States paired with still lifes of objects found within or around them to create visual object poems. The artist has also included some earlier work featuring anonymous antique portraits in the spirit of memorials and work made in the Peruvian Andes that thematically connects with the other pieces in unexpected ways. This combination features the themes she is best known for in her diverse body of work – nature, landscape and memory.

This exhibit provides glimpses into many phases of Schoenfeld’s work wherein lie intriguing threads of continuity. A journal of visual ideas, begun in the past, continues today in variations of a theme begun long ago. Her superbly and elegantly crafted black and white prints perfectly embody the quiet and contemplative nature of her work. Diana Schoenfeld studied at Florida Presbyterian College, University of Neuchatel in Switzerland and Georgia State University and holds MA and MFA degrees from the University of New Mexico. Her photographs have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the United States, Europe and Canada since 1973.

An opening reception for this show will be held on First Friday, December 2, 2022 from 5-9pm. A reception with the artist will be announced at a later date. We hope you will join us!


“One of the wonderful things about photographic portraits is that they grow on us over time, and usually last longer than we do. Some are quiet studies, holding a restful, though attentive quality, their having taken some time to fall into place. Other exist by the accident of split-second timing, whereby an unexpected gesture or fleeting expression -or combination of both – is captured, reconfigured, never to be reconfigured in that way again. 

The real world of people and animals and objects and places is in constant flux, the momentary arrangements among them continually vanishing. The living compositions that emerged for my camera fell apart and were gone the instant the shutter was released. 

But the photographical portrait, beautiful and bittersweet in its melancholy silence, allows these brief moments of connecting to be visited again and again, for decades., maybe centuries. In its printed and fixed permanence, a photographic portrait can even be rephotographed, creating an entirely new composition in which the old likeness can live another way, perhaps with more charm than the original.

So save and enjoy old portraits, even of strangers. They are treasures, the older, the better. They are also, in their making and in their preservation, a form of love, traveling from the past, forward into our time, and beyond, into the future.”