Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
kim@kimschmahmann.com
ARTIST STATEMENT

In my work, I create conceptual art in the form of fine art. Combining these creates a tension between the idea and the form, which I use to explore the tensions inherent in interactions between individuals and society, history and geography, classification and control.

In my pieces — such as the Bureau of Bureaucracy, Deconstructing Colonialism, and Apart-Hate: A People Divider —I use the language of furniture to highlight how everyday documents affect our lives. Specifically, by embedding a variety of documents — both personal and institutional — in each piece, I explore the various ways in which these documents shape how we live and work.

The goal of my art work is to build pieces that have depth and grace and that will endure over time. To do this I strive to create subtle and complex visual expressions involving multiple layers, multiple materials, and multiple techniques. My work involves an iterative and interactive practice of imagining and manifesting the ideas and forms over time. I find that this emergent process of design and construction is critical to producing unique pieces, and it requires me to do all the work myself. So my pieces take a number of years as I move through the multiple and different activities of sketching, researching (via interviews and document search), designing, computer modeling (in graphic and 3D CAD tools), building physical prototypes, constructing the cases (milling, joinery, veneering, assembly), fashioning the hardware (metalworking), generating and applying marquetries, inlaying documents, and finishing the piece (French polishing).

I am currently working on two pieces. The first — Labeling Selves — explores how the labels that are given to us and the labels we give ourselves define us, producing boundaries that give our lives meaning and identity but also limit our options and opportunities. The second — The Debt Spiral— examines the role and consequences of debt in society, drawing on the recent global financial meltdown that was precipitated by the escalating and interdependent dynamics of personal and institutional borrowing.




RESUME

Museums
Museum of Arts and Design, New York City, NY (Apart-Hate: A People Divider, Permanent Collection)
Smithsonian American Art Museum, Renwick Gallery, Washington D.C. (Bureau of Bureaucracy, Permanent Collection)
Smithsonian Institution, Archives of American Art, Washington D.C. (Sketchbooks: Bureau of Bureaucracy)
Selected Exhibitions
2014   Re: Collection exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City, NY
2014   IN(sight)BOUND: Sketchbooks of the Creative Process exhibition at Brickbottom Art Gallery, Somerville, MA
2013-2014   Made in Massachusetts: Studio Furniture of the Bay State exhibition at the Fuller Musuem, Brockton, MA
2012   Alumni Exhibition at the North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA
2010-2011   The Global Africa Project exhibition at the Museum of Arts and Design, New York City, NY
2004 Right at Home: American Studio Furniture exhibition at the Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art,
Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.

1997 Selected Works exhibition at the Stratton Center, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
1991 Artisans of the 90s exhibition at the Lexington Arts & Crafts Society, Lexington, MA.

Publications

Made In Massachusetts: Studio Furniture of the Bay State by Jeffrey Brown, Fuller Craft Museum: Brockton, MA 2013.
The Global Africa Project by Lowery Stokes Sims and Leslie King-Hammond, Museum of Arts and Design, Prestel, USA, 2010.
"Africa and its Spheres of Influence" by Judith H. Dobrzynski, New York Times, Sunday November 28, 2010.
Studio Furniture of the Renwick Gallery: Smithsonian American Art Museum by Oscar P. Fitzgerald, Fox Chapel Publishing,
   East Petersburg, PA, 2008.
"Metaphorically Speaking" by Barbara Rizza Mellin, American Style, August 2007.
Sketchbooks: Bureau of Bureaucracy, in Collections of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.
"Bureau of Bureaucracy," featured on book jacket of Turning Words, Spinning Worlds by Michael Rosen, Harwood Press: Cambridge, UK., 2000.
"Bureau of Bureaucracy: Political Pieces", Art & Antiques, volume XXIII, September, 2000.
"Opposite but not Equal," Fine Woodworking: Design Book Seven, Taunton: Newton, CT., 1996.
"Grand-Parent Clock," Fine Woodworking: Design Book Seven, Taunton: Newton, CT., 1996.
"Manhattan Coffee Table," Fine Woodworking: Design Book Six, Taunton: Newton, CT., 1992.
"Building Buildings and Living Lives" in P. Gagliardi (ed.) Symbols and Artifacts, W. de Gruyter: New York, 1989 [with M. Rosen & W. Orlikowski].

Honors and Awards
2013   Featured Artist Lecture, Arts and Craft Society, Lexington MA
2007   Distinguished Artist Lecture, Renwick Gallery of the National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington D.C.
2004   Distinguished Artist Lecture, Renwick Gallery of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C.
2003   Featured Artist Lecture, Arts and Craft Society, Lexington MA
1998   Grant for Work-in-Progress, Gruss Remainder Trust.
1990   Honorable Mention, International Cities Design Competition, Milwaukee, WI.
1989   Honorable Mention, The Peace Garden Project, Washington, DC [with J. Hirsty].
1984   Award [First Stage], Stawon International Housing Competition, Amsterdam, Holland.

Work In Progress

Labeling Selves

The Debt Spiral
Education
1982 Bachelor of Architecture, University of Natal, Durban, South Africa.
1985 Clay Sculpture, Art Students League of New York, New York, NY.
1992 Diploma in Furniture and Cabinetmaking, North Bennet Street School, Boston, MA.
1998 French Polishing Program, Barstow & Waterhouse, Manchester, United Kingdom.
2000 Life Drawing, Massachusetts College of Art, Boston, MA.
2006 Life Drawing, Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, United Kingdom.