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Artist of the Year: Verena Schwippert
Past Exhibit

Vibrant Matter

Artist of the Year: Verena Schwippert

August 13 – September 19

Main Gallery

Vibrant Dome by Verena Schwippert

Schack Art Center is thrilled to honor public sculpture artist Verena Schwippert as an Artist of the Year for 2015. Verena shares this honor with photographer James Arrabito.

Their combined exhibit is called "Vibrant Matter" and is on view in the Schack's main gallery through September 19, 2015. The 2015 Art Advocate of the Year, Lloyd Weller, and the 2014, Volunteer of the Year, Susie Howell, are also being honored during this exhibit opening on Thursday, August 13 at 6pm.

Exhibit co-sponsored by the City of Everett Cultural Arts Commission

Image top: Verena Schwippert, Von Menschenhand, 2007. State Art Collection, Washington State Arts Commission in partnership with Walla Walla Community College.

About Verena Schwippert

Originally from Germany, Schwippert has called the Northwest her home for the past 35 years. She started her own granite sculpture studio in Arlington in 1994 and since then has created large public sculptures for Sound Transit and the Washington State Arts Commission.

Schwippert's work is frequently shown at the Karla Matzke Fine Art Gallery and Gallery Mack Art Connection. She has also served on the Board of Directors of the Northwest Stone Sculptors Association and also on the Snohomish County Arts Commission for many years.

Artist Statement

For most of us, as for me, there is a tangible presence in the large stone boulders, as well as a peaceful, yet very great power.

Divan by Verena Schwippert

I strive to capitalize on that presence by leaving the shapes of the boulders nearly intact, yet try to inject them with a pulse, carefully and gently. This pulse can be described as a visual quality, the illusion of "just about to move to another shape-ness."

To use the form of the boulders as nearly as they are, perfectly sculpted by ice, water and rocks during an immensely long time, is my way of paying homage to the forces that shaped them, inclusive of time and gravity.

My sculptures invite the touch and physical interaction of people; in fact, in a way they are not complete without this touch; the giant hands I make, invite folks to sit in them and feel the safe calm of the granite.

Even those sculptures that do not obviously show the shape of the boulders, are worked and designed to highlight the character of stone, its essence and its "stone-ness". My site responsive works emphasize the "humanness" in the sculptures, connections to the history of civilization, and to the granite layer of our planet.

The initial inspiration to work huge granite boulders stems from the megalithic Stone Age sites in Northern Germany, where I grew up. My medium of choice is granite, which, among other qualities, has great durability. With a bit of luck my sculptures will last until the next 20 thousand years.

About "Vibrant Matter"

The distinction and privilege to be nominated artist of the year 2015 by the Schack Art Center is a great honor for my art and for me. Thank you all.

My Co-Artist of the Year, James Arrabito, and I celebrate creativity and the arts in varied shapes and forms, and its interaction with the public in this unique venue in Everett , WA.

The City of Everett has special meaning to me, because my first large scale public sculpture was made for this city about a decade ago. It was commissioned by Sound Transit, and resides at the train station's Light Rail terminal. The name of that megalithic work is " Handwerke"  [Handworks, referring to the manufacturing background of Everett].

Napping on the Metate by Verena Schwippert

The works in this show - except two smallish ones - are sculpted from granite from the neighboring Cascade Mountains, worked on a farm in Arlington, where I reside.

The invitation to show my art in a duo-solo show with James Arrabito has given a great up-lift and encouragement to my sculpting, and I wish to once again thank the Schack Art Center and everyone involved, for the great confidence and honor bestowed on me.

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