Phillip Schwartz

426 E Partition Street, Hudson

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Artist Statement

I’m an artist living and working in Hudson, New York. My art career began after I graduated from The School of The Museum of Fine Art in Boston and completed the fifth-year program and competition in 1989. I was awarded a traveling scholarship which enabled me to travel to the Soviet Union and Eastern bloc countries. Also, in 1989 I was diagnosed with AIDS. Early in my career most of my work was about HIV and my experience of living as a person with AIDS and explored the decomposition of my body as well as my anger at the government and society for not doing more to stop the AIDS epidemic. Over the years my work has remained informed by social justice issues such as the Israeli occupation of Palestinian land, water access rights and the plight of refugees. My current work explores my family history as it relates to the Holocaust and The Holocaust in general. The Holocaust was the inevitable outcome of unchecked hate and racism which was adopted as national policy. I fear that today’s anti-Semitism and all other forms of racism and discrimination if left unchecked will result in a similar end. I have worked in various mediums over the course of my career, and I have learned to use mediums in order to do bodies of work which I felt needed to be done in specific mediums with which I had no experience or training. I’m currently painting in Egg Tempera using the techniques taught to me by Eastern Orthodox iconographers to do work about the Holocaust in the visual liturgical language of the regions where some of the worst of the atrocities took place including the murder of most of my father’s family. I also do paper cutouts which produce very graphic images that look similar to serigraphs. Cutting and gluing paper is a quick process by comparison to iconography and so makes for a good balance. At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic I took up sewing in order to make masks and found that I enjoyed it and have begun to use that as a medium of expression as well. I have created several quilts over the past year, some of which are about the Holocaust, the remaining quilt is about my experience of being bullied and assaulted while I was a student in high school in the late 1970’s after having come out as gay. My process is fluid and when I find myself needing new ways in which to express myself, I learn to use a new medium or I return to a medium which I have worked with in the past. I think that flexibility keeps my work fresh and keeps the process of creating art exciting for me as an artist.

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