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MICHAEL SCHREIER Michael Schreier is a professional artist and photographer who has dedicated his considerable professional career to the celebration of both the public and private hero. Recent work includes Storyteller, Waiting for Words at the Ottawa Art Gallery, curator Emily Falvey, 2009, and the curating of the exhibition Dave Heath, A Heritage of Meaning, 2013 at the Ottawa Art Gallery. Selected works are represented in both public and private collections, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, the National Archives Photography Collection, the Agnes-Etherington Art Centre, the Canadian Portrait Gallery, Visual Studies Workshop, (Rochester, New York), Light Works Workshop, Syracuse New York, Carleton University Art Gallery, and the University of Ottawa Library Special Collections.

Thursday, 9 June 2016


Post  # 12


From an urgency to utterance, through studio muse towards an audience:

( A Memento Mori)

(cursor on photograph for detailed view, 
note: unless otherwise indicated all photographs,

by Michael Schreier and drawings by Hilde Schreier,
reproduction, without permission, prohibited.)



Some years ago I reflected with a close friend, wondering what I would be doing now, if I had grown up in Vienna. The answer, quickly returned, "why, you would be an artist". There is certainly truth to this, while recognizing that my cultural imperative, influence, might be very different. Clearly my concerns for a sense of place, the nurturing of voice, the poetics of thought, the value placed on passage with the memory of one place, while the being in another, might be very different. And yet perhaps not.


So it begins with introspection, then to utterance including a speculation for argument and then a return to silence as truths revealed offer little but further introspection: a cycle to confirm.

It has been some time since I have either considered writing or visiting Camera Obscura. Partially the result of a personal challenge to consider more deeply one's muse, however, more urgently an attempt to understand both the embrace of loss and the requirement to let go, hoping that memory would confirm a deeper continuity. It is with great sadness, yet with a quiet acknowledgement of all gifts garnered that I dedicate this posting to Dave Heath, my mentor, and above all, my close friend. 

Dave died on his birthday, June 27, 2016.

                                                     




                                                           I include the following discussion between Dave and I,
                                                              (with appreciation to SPAO, and Michael Vuckovic)
                                                                Dave Heath, Michael Schreier, In Conversation

(For your reference, The following exchange between Dave and I was initiated as a result of Post#10

The Beholder, beheld:
The Reader, read.)

On May 3, 2016, 12:23 pm Dave Heath wrote:

i'm not sure my readings are astute.it is of interest that some find the work
"obfuscating". i do not find that so. for me, it is the density of your thinking which i often find difficult to enter.
you are more of a "philosopher",word oriented. thinking that is dense like celan, like the 20th century atonal music that you like. i have sometimes wondered if the structure of your thinking is based on the density of your first language, German. i have often wondered that the books from my library that you read from are books of ideas/words, of some poetry(celan, jab├Ęs) but not others, nothing from the visual books. i have long said that photographers enter the medium through one of two doors:text (for instance nathan, (lyons)) or visual aesthetic, (Weston, Edward)

to wit, from your blog:


i am more inclined to see clifford still in "temes"

walker's photo structurally is of clarity and precision, like the grid layouts of philly and manhattan...like his subway series "many are called" wherein the quotidian populace live "lives of quiet desperation. i took his photo as the basis of "beyond the gates of eden"


though I may often find it difficult to enter your thought, I have always thought you brilliant, continue the work as you live it

regards, dave

My answer:
May 3, 2016, 12:52 pm

Thank you for your kind thoughts and insight...I do read a great deal from the visual section of your library...it certainly sources/influences my work...but I suspect at this point in my life/thinking I am deeply involved with two specific notions, that of doubt and the other, an authority for voice. When I see the profundity of your insight, in your work, and others, I question whether I have anything of real substance to offer...Temes to me underscores a confusion that I have sometimes speculated is part of the "Story of Babel" for in that myth rests not only the notion of language but the privilege  to utterance and the struggle for source...What has always struck me about the Evans photograph and his work is the depth to which he goes in recognizing the integrity of the vernacular and the anonymous. I see the window display as a tower built on the subtlety of trace and individual gesture. I also certainly absorb Nathan's text and Weston's visual aesthetics but for me there is a much deeper reflection and that is the right to existence and continuity, that in my own being I find I am challenging. Similar to my experience when one has a deep sense of loss, the very nature of validity is challenged. I have no memory other than through the story's that my parents told me, of my early years in Vienna...and when I came to Canada I could not speak as I did not yet have the language,

...that little boy in the doorway...


is of me the first day that I could actually, in English tell and share with my father,  my day's events...previously and until that day, he would not listen if I spoke in German...the link to atonal music, to the theater of the absurd, my appreciation of DAda and my understanding of Duchamp's contribution and numerous other elements stem from these early ruminations. Out of coincidence, the first and only play that I directed...The Bald Soprano by Ionesco, was his first play that he wrote to learn English...the humor and contradictions are the result of that dilemma...I am also a deep fan of Clifford Still...currently listening to Arnold Schoenberg...I find your work "Beyond the Gates of Eden" a very quiet reference to the "Tower of Babel" and the, as you suggest, quiet desperation of lives attempting to garner voice...your insights have always fueled the very nature of what I do and on many levels you are one of the few who really understands....

with tender thoughts, always, Michael





                                                                                    Pierre Henry : Le voile d'Orphee II