The exhibition will occupy the ground floor space of Palazzo Mocenigo and will consist of original hand-printed fabrics as well as woven textiles paired with sketches and quotes from the artist. The work is complemented by a documentary film, “The Radiant Sun: Designer Ruth Adler Schnee” (directed by filmmaker Terri Sarris, produced by Sarris and Eisenbach) and a glass mosaic screen, designed by Ruth Adler Schnee in collaboration with Angelo Orsoni Furnace in Venice (Cannaregio 1045, Venice), famous for its library of colored glass, a passion shared by the Orsonis and Schnee.
Drawing inspiration from artifacts as diverse as the threads on her sewing table, the plan of her neighborhood, or seedpods found on the beach, Ruth Adler Schnee unearths the underlying structure of her source and translates her encounters into the medium of cloth. She expertly manipulates texture, pattern and color to create designs that hover between reference and abstraction. Perhaps it is the sheer joy of this play – the interaction of figure and ground, minute and urban scale, pattern and form, sinuous line and geometric edge – that explains the draw of the work. Of course, Schnee does not design in a vacuum. She refers to the work of other artists and designers as well as influential 20th century movements such as Biomorphism, Streamlining and Abstract Expressionism.
Schnee and other (usually female) designers fought hard to insert their “decorative” work into the environments of purist modernist architects. Their textiles enlivened and softened these stark spaces adding color, warmth, and often a lighthearted touch. Viewing Ruth Adler Schnee’s body of woven work, together with her sketches and images of her early hand-printed fabrics, offers us the chance to appreciate the richness and specificity of our world. When seen through the eyes of a gifted designer like Schnee, the ordinary gives rise to new forms and meanings.